Easter safety tips for pets

With the Easter long weekend coming up, many families are coming together and bringing along their pets. So, as the proud Ambassador for PETstock, PETstock vet Dr Tara Morris and I have compiled some of our top Easter safety tips for pets.

Keep the hot cross buns, chocolates and lollies away

While you might be serving hot cross buns, chips, dips, other baked goods and chocolate to your guests, these snacks can upset any pet’s stomach, or could even be toxic.

According to insurance claims data, chocolate toxicity claims tend to increase around Easter compared to the rest of the year 2.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in pets include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst or urination, restlessness and agitation, bloated abdomen, twitching and stiffness, seizures, elevated temperature and elevated heart rate. Signs can develop between 2 and 12 hours after the chocolate is eaten. If you know your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have or are showing signs that they are unwell, you should seek urgent veterinary attention.

Understand and respect your pets’ boundaries

With over 40% of dogs suffering from differing levels of anxiety at any one-time 1, it is important to ensure our animals are not further stressed by their environment. According to PETstock vet Dr Tara Morris, anxiety and anxious behaviour are not limited to dogs in this situation.

“Anxiety wears itself differently on other animals including cats when we compare them to dogs. Sometimes owners may not even realise that their pet could have anxiety because they are not showing clear symptoms.” says Dr Tara.

If you are planning to host a get-together this Easter, Easter safety tips includes considering what your pet will be up for in terms of socialisation. When deciding how to make your pet’s party experience less stressful, there are many factors to take into account, including music, movement around the house, odours, and even daily routines.

Prepare a safe room

If you have decided to keep your animal friend away from the celebrations, consider preparing a dedicated safe space or even room for them. This room will be a haven, away from loud noises with easy access to food, water, a bed, and toys to manage boredom.

Plus, if the pet can’t go to the toilet in this space, make sure to take them out frequently.

As a Dog Behaviourist, my tip is to slowly build up your pets’ relationship to the potential safe space if your pet has not stayed there before. You want to ensure that this safe space is always accessible to your pet and make it a permanent fixture in your home.

It should not be a one-off space but a space where your pet can seek this space when they start to feel afraid or uncomfortable. If it becomes a space that you only use during events, your pets may correlate the space with events that scare them and may refuse to enter the unfamiliar space.   Crate training offers many benefits and can become your dog’s safe haven in many instances when things get too stressful.

Be mindful of hazardous decorations

If you are holding an Easter dinner at your place, there might be some Easter-themed decorations that could do more harm than good for our pets..

While Easter lilies are beautiful centre pieces on the dining table, these plants are toxic for canines and even more so for felines. If your pet does consume lilies, they could meet with symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and in some cats, kidney failure if left untreated. Even if your cat does not consume lilies, they could still groom lily pollen from their fur or paws which would still lead to the symptoms mentioned above, so keeping toxic plants and other choking hazards out of the way of pets is another key Easter safety tip for pts.

Extra Easter Love

With all these extra precautions to take onboard, it may sound like your animal friend could be missing out on a lot of fun. While it is still the long weekend, you could set some time aside to spend some quality time with your pet.

Take your pet on a walk or if they prefer to stay at home, prepare a pet-friendly Easter ‘egg’ hunt with tasty treats from PETstock. You can even build a pet-friendly party favour and include some well-themed toys for the occasion. For more treat ideas and great tips for your pets this Easter, please visit www.petstock.com.au.

About the Author:

Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog


1 Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2016). Prevalence, comorbidity, and behavioral variation in canine anxiety.2 Medibank Pet Insurance (2021):

Easter chocolate isn’t a dog’s best friend.

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