Risks for Pets at Easter

With the long Easter weekend upon us, we know that many people will be spending time with loved ones, enjoying the warmer weather, and eating lots of chocolate! Whilst we enjoy the bank holiday, it is important to remember the potential hazards to our pets and ensure that all sweet treats are kept well out of reach.


Easter wouldn’t be complete without lots of chocolate. This of course means an increase in cases of accidental ingestion in pets, particularly dogs. The Animal PoisonLine and Veterinary Poisons Information Service see a huge increase in call numbers relating to chocolate at this time of year.

Chocolate contains two related chemicals that can be toxic to pets – theobromine and caffeine. The amount of caffeine and theobromine in products will vary due to natural differences in cocoa beans and the formulation of the products. Common signs associated with large consumption of chocolate in animals include vomiting (in animals that can), diarrhoea, hyperactivity and restlessness, increased thirst, increased heart rate and tremors.

Although chocolate poisoning is very common in pets (especially dogs!) and frequently makes them ill, fatal cases are rare.


Hot cross buns are an Easter staple, but did you know that they can be incredibly dangerous for our pets?

Grapes and their dried fruits can be toxic to dogs and cats, and ingestion of a small amount can be enough to cause kidney damage. It is not fully understood how these foods cause poisoning, and there is no correlation between the amount eaten and the likelihood of an animal developing complications. This means that even a small amount can be enough to cause serious kidney impairment in animals that are susceptible. Signs of toxicity include:

• Vomiting and diarrhoea

• Abnormal drinking or urination

• Weakness and lethargy

If your pet ingests a hot cross bun, we recommend seeking veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Lilies and cats

Lilies are popular garden and house plants, frequently found in bouquets of flowers. They are also commonly associated with Easter. Cats who ingest lilies are at risk of kidney damage and fatalities can occur. All parts of the lily are toxic to cats even in small quantities such as simply licking the pollen off their fur.

If your cat is in contact with lilies, we recommend washing off any pollen and contacting your vet as soon as possible. If treatment is started before the onset of any kidney damage, the outcomes are much better.

Dogs who ingest lilies can suffer with vomiting and diarrhoea but are not at risk of the kidney problems seen in cats.

Calls to the Animal Poison Line are charged. Click here for further information