Danger in a Basket

Mar 30, 2013

A-Tisket, A-Tasket - Danger in that basket!
Credit AlishaV (Alisha Vargas)

Easter baskets make us smile, with all the pretty colors and yummy goodies and treats.  The sweet-smelling candies and chocolate are tantalizing to a pet's sensitive nose and that Easter grass wiggling in the breeze entices a curious pet.  Plan now to keep your four-footed friend safe from the dangers that lurk inside (and outside) that basket this Easter.


Most folks I know have wonderful memories of Easter when we were growing up. We would dye hard-boiled eggs in really pretty colors. Later there would be an Easter egg hunt in the back yard. Our Easter baskets would always have lots of sweet treats – jelly beans, sugary marshmallow chicks and candy-coated eggs, and big chocolate bunnies. It never occurred to us that some of the sweets that tasted so good could be harmful to our furry family members.

Chocolate is toxic to our pets (especially dogs), because it contains theobromine. The degree of toxicity depends on the chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more theobromine than milk chocolate, and white chocolate contains the least. It also depends on the size of your pet and how much it eats. If your pet starts having digestive problems and you think it has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian. Even better, keep the chocolate out of reach.

Chocolate is not the only danger to pets at Easter. Some candies (and even gum and baked goods) contain an artificial sweetner, Xylitol, which can be extremely harmful to a pet. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center warns that Xylitol can cause systemic reactions in dogs and ferrets that may lead to digestive and neurological problems which could result in seizures, coma, or liver failure. Be very careful to keep products with Xylitol away from your pet.

It’s not just the candy you have to be concerned about. That Easter grass in the basket can cause serious digestive problems for a pet that decides to eat it. Another threat to your animal’s health is that beautiful Easter Lily. Like all members of the Lily family, they are highly toxic, especially to cats. In fact, you’ll find the Lily on the Pet Poison Helpline list of top-ten poisonous plants for pets.

If you suspect your pet has ingested anything harmful, call your veterinarian immediately. Better yet, keep these harmful temptations away from your furry friend, so you can both have a happy (and healthy) Easter, when you’re speaking of pets.