RSPCA WA is reminding pet owners that, while tasty for us, Easter treats like chocolate and hot cross buns can be toxic to our furry friends and should be kept well away from prying paws.

To ensure your four-legged friend stays happy and healthy during the Easter period, keep these 10 ingredients well out of reach:

  • Alcohol - Can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory problems, coma and death.
  • Chocolate - Toxic to dogs, can cause hyperactivity, nervousness, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and death.
  • Coffee or caffeine products - Can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, heart palpitations, tremors, collapse and death.
  • Cooked bones - Can splinter and cause internal damage or obstruct the intestine.
  • Grapes, sultanas, raisins, currants - Contain a substance toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.
  • Nuts, especially macadamia nuts - Contain oils and fats that can upset stomachs and potentially cause pancreatitis. Macadamias are poisonous to dogs.
  • Onions, garlic, chives - Can cause gastrointestinal irritation and lead to red blood cell damage.
  • Salt and salty foods - In large amounts can cause excessive thirst or sodium ion poisoning, as well as vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures and death.
  • Xylitol (sugar substitute found in chewing gum, lollies, toothpaste) - Extremely toxic to dogs, can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure and death.
  • Foil and wrappers – Although these aren’t edible, they’re sure to be around at Easter time, are easily swallowed by curious pets, and can do serious harm.

As a precaution, owners should check their vet’s Easter opening hours and locate their nearest after-hours clinic, so they can act quickly if their pet becomes unwell.

If you're going away for the Easter holidays, make sure you've planned ahead to ensure your pets are well looked after. RSPCA WA Inspectors are regularly called out to properties where owners have gone on holiday and failed to make adequate arrangements for their pet’s care.

When going on holiday, it's important to consider where your pet is staying:

  1. Get a trusted friend or family member to look after your pet at your house or at their house.
  2. Find a sitter on one of the many websites available.
  3. Look for well-reviewed pet boarding kennels near you.
  4. If you can, take your pet on holiday with you.
  5. If your only option is to keep your pet at home by themselves, make sure there is someone to check in on them at least once a day to check their food, water and general wellbeing. 

And if you’re travelling with your pets over the school holidays, make sure their microchip details are updated with your contact information in case they get lost, and research local vet surgeries in the area, just in case.

RSPCA WA Executive Manager Animal Services Hannah Dreaver:

“Easter is a wonderful time of year, but Easter traditions can pose a serious risk to your pet’s health and wellbeing.

“The good news is, if you know which ingredients to watch out for, and the warning signs, it’s easy to keep your pet happy and healthy over the break.

“Families, particularly those planning an Easter egg hunt, need to be vigilant to make sure chocolate is kept out of their pet’s reach at all times, while those who enjoy a hot cross bun need to know that currants and sultanas contain a substance that is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

“It’s normal to want to include your pet in the celebrations, but sharing is not caring when it comes to foods that are hazardous to our pets. Nobody wants to spend their Easter break at the emergency vet.

“If you want to spoil your pet, there’s a huge variety of pet-friendly treats available (including pet-friendly chocolate made from carob!).

“And if you’re going away over Easter, make sure that you’ve made arrangements for your pet to be cared for by someone reliable until you get back. Leaving an animal alone for a prolonged period of time can not only cause enormous stress to the animal, it can also pose a number of serious safety risks.”