Celebrating Easter and Passover (Safely) With Your Dog

There are plenty of ways to enjoy Easter with your furry friend, and we're here to help you out. Read on for some tips on how to have a happy and safe Easter with your pup!More

Celebrating Easter and Passover (Safely) With Your Dog

Dog enjoying Easter egg hunt

Dressing your dog up for Halloween is one of the great pleasures in life, but I think we can all agree that there is NOTHING cuter than a dog wearing bunny ears. Easter should be fun for your two-legged and four-legged family members alike.

When I think of Easter I immediately think of bunnies, eggs and chocolate in all shapes and sizes. But those things don't always go well together. In order to have a fun (and safe) holiday, certain precautions need to be taken. Let’s break it all down.

celebrating easter safely with dog, dogs and easter, dogs and chocolate

Dog Easter dress - Adorable white lace with bunny ears

Chocolate and Dogs

Have you considered putting chocolate into your dog's Easter basket? Think again! If you do not know this already, then here is a public service announcement: Chocolate is toxic to dogs! Chocolate and any products with cacao are not a suitable options for Easter dog treats!

Why is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?

In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains a chemical called Theobromine. Both chemicals speed up the heart rate in dogs as well as stimulate their nervous system. Dogs can not metabolize theobromine or caffeine as well as humans can which is what makes them get sick. 

PRO TIP: Try Carob treats with no harmful ingredients 

How sick will your dog get from chocolate?

The risk of sickness from chocolate depends on how much chocolate is ingested as well as the type of chocolate. The higher the concentration of theobromine and caffeine the sicker your dog will most likely become.

For milk chocolate, eating more than half an ounce per pound of body weight may put your dog at risk for chocolate poisoning. For dark or semi-sweet chocolate, eating more than 0.13 ounces per pound of body weight may cause chocolate poisoning in dogs. Knowing how much and what kind of chocolate your dog ate can help you and your vet determine if you have an emergency.

chocolate and dogs, is chocolate toxic to dogs, which chocolate is worst for dogs

Chocolate types from least to most toxic: WHITE – MILK – SEMISWEET – DARK

Here are the types of chocolate in order of toxicity:

  1. Cocoa powder is the MOST toxic as it is 100% pure cocoa
  2. Unsweetened Chocolate
  3. Semisweet chocolate
  4. Dark Chocolate
  5. Milk Chocolate
  6. White Chocolate 

Being aware of the amount and type of chocolate your dogs has consumed can be helpful in determining if you have a medical emergency on your hands. 

The AKC explains it this way: “A very concerning dose of chocolate is approximately one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight. Since an average Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar is 1.55 ounces, consuming even one chocolate bar can have serious consequences, especially for small dogs. Eating a crumb of chocolate cake or a very small piece of a chocolate bar, on the other hand, probably won’t kill your dog, especially if it is a larger breed, but chocolate should never be fed as a treat.”

How do I know if my dog has chocolate poisoning?

Signs of chocolate ingestion and poisoning usually occur within 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. Symptoms may include:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Vomiting 
  3. Tremors
  4. Seizures
  5. Panting
  6. Excessive thirst/urination
  7. Abnormal heart rhythm

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately, or take your dog to the emergency room. 

USEFUL RESOURCES TO HAVE ON HAND:

Emergency Pet Helpline (855) 764-7661
ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426-4435

NOTE: Dogs with heart conditions and/or senior dogs are at a higher risk for chocolate poisoning to be fatal. 

How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Chocolate

To prevent your dog from sneaking chocolate, follow these tips:

  • Put it away: Make sure all chocolate items, including cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix, are stored where the dog cannot reach them, such as on a high shelf in a closed-door pantry. Remind your children and guests that chocolate should be kept out of the dog’s reach and not left on countertops, tables, or in purses. Keep this in mind during the holidays, too, making sure to place Easter baskets and candy in a place where a dog cannot get to them.
  • Teach “leave it”: The command “leave it” is extremely effective in preventing dogs from eating something that falls onto the ground or is left within reach during a walk. It’s also a very easy command to teach.
  • Crate train your dog: The safest way to ensure your dog doesn’t eat anything harmful while you’re not supervising them is to crate train them. Find a sturdy crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around and make it a comfortable, safe place for them to retreat to when they want to be alone or when you can’t watch them. Offer toys, a stuffed chew toy, a favorite blanket, and treats to help them feel like the crate is their personal den.

dogs and easter, dogs and plastic east eggs, dog easter egg hunt 

Tired Chihuahua after all the Easter fun

Plastic Easter Eggs and Dogs

Depending on your dog, the plastic Easter eggs typically found everywhere during this holiday can either be harmless or dangerous. But only you know your own dog. So answer these questions:

  1. Will they swallow a plastic egg whole? 
  2. Will they chew it into little pieces swallowing chards?
  3. Will they drop the egg out of their mouth if you say “leave it”?

If the answers are: a. Yes, b. Yes, c. No

Go for an egg-less hunt. Use KONG-like stuffable toys instead.

If the answers are: a. No, b. No, c. Yes

If you think it’s safe to have plastic easter eggs around your pooch then by all means do it, and make it fun! Put little dog treats into the eggs, hide them in the yard and watch her use her powerful snout to find them. Make a game of opening the egg up for him, have him obey a command and  reward him with the treat. You may have to help your dog learn the game by leading her to the first few locations and/or the general location. 

PRO TIP FOR DOG FRIENDLY EASTER EGG HUNT: smear a touch of peanut butter on the outside of the egg or toy to help your fur baby find it.

Are your dogs possessive of treats and toys? 

If you have more than one dog and they are have mild-severe food or ball aggression, you may want to separate them and do separate hunts or have a different human watching each dog to avoid any possible conflict. 

safe easter egg hunt with dogs, dogs and easter eggs

Can you have an Easter Egg hunt with dogs AND include your kids?

Of course it depends on the relationship overall, but we do not recommend this as it is near impossible to fully keep your eyes on all the action. Let the kids enjoy their activities first, as they will probably be the most impatient to get the party started! If your children are old enough, then they can help with the dog “egg” hunt afterwards. It will give them a sense of responsibility and a bonding experience with their canine sibling. 

safe easter with dogs, celebrate easter with dog

Dog happy easter - Dog painting easter eggs

Dog Safety After the Fun

Do not take a big bag of Easter eggs and throw them all over your yard without knowing how many you have hidden. If you have hidden eggs in your yard, make sure you know how many you started with and be sure to end with the same amount. You don’t want to plan the perfect, safe Easter for everyone involved only to have your furbaby go outside for his last pee of the night to find and gobble up a stray plastic egg and the small price inside in one gulp. 

Other Dangerous Items to Look Out For:

1. Easter basket plastic grass
2. Alcohol
3. Candy and gummies

@puppynamedcharlie and Sawyer enjoying Passover together

How to Enjoy Passover With Your Pooch

Since Passover and Easter often fall around the same time year after year, we would be remiss if we didn’t give those Jewdles a little mention. 

Hanukkah Gelt and Passover Goodies

There is a lot of chocolate and jelly candy eaten around this holiday. The same rules apply for chocolate in any shape and size. Make sure your pup can not get to these items!

What Passover Seder Foods Are Safe for my Dog? 

Matzo/Matzah?

Yes, dogs can eat Matzah but it must be regulated as too much consumption of Matzah could affect them and give them a bad stomach.

Charoset/Sweet Apple?

Instead, give them some plain chopped up apple pieces.

Bitter Herb/Maror?

They won’t like it (!) but it won’t hurt them.

Lamb Shank?

We don’t recommend giving dogs bones because they can splinter and dogs can choke. If you do, make sure they are supervised. 

Hard-Boiled Egg?

Unless your dog has an allergy to eggs, this is harmless and entertaining for them. 

Remember, keeping your pets safe and healthy should always be a priority during holidays with so many extra factors to consider.

Wishing you all a very happy spring holiday season, no matter what you celebrate or observe!