By Jessica Gregory
Certified Veterinary Technician at Pet Poison Helpline
As a child I always remember the fun of hunting down Easter eggs and baskets on Easter morning. My basket was always in an area almost impossible for pets to find, mostly due to the cat. She was fascinated with the plastic grass in the basket and would have eaten all of it if we would have let her. Typically this meant that my basket was in a cupboard, closet or the dryer. I’m sure my mom didn’t think about the other things that could have been a potential concern for the dog at home! Luckily he was an awesome, lazy dog that couldn’t be bothered with opening plastic eggs.
As I already mentioned, the plastic grass is a concern due to a risk for foreign body obstruction; however, there are plenty of other things that could be a potential concern for your pets in those treat-filled baskets and eggs.
Chocolate, as most people know, can cause potential toxicity issues depending on the amount ingested. Dogs will happily break open those small plastic eggs and devour the contents, and potentially the plastic eggs, too! One peanut butter cup likely isn’t a concern but once they taste one they are happy to find the rest.
Jelly beans, gummy candies and other sugary treats can certainly cause a significant amount of stomach upset and also can cause foreign body obstruction depending on the amount ingested.
Many gums and sugar-free candies contain a sweetener called xylitol which can cause significant toxicity concern if ingested. If you are using candies containing xylitol, which will be in the ingredient list, extra care should be taken to ensure that your pet cannot access them.
You never know what your pet might do to try to get at those treats so it would be recommended to take your egg hunts outdoors (if possible!) or ensure that your pets are unable to access those areas that the Easter Bunny might visit. Keeping dogs kenneled or in a closed bedroom is going to be safest for them if they might have access to any delicious treats. Happy Hunting!