Easter And The Dangers For Your Pets

Easter is an exciting time to spend with family and friends. Easter egg hunts, photos with the Easter Bunny, all of these fun moments can unfortunately bring unexpected dangers to your dog. We have compiled a list of items to be careful of introducing around your dog during this Easter and the warning signs to look for in the event of ingestion. Contact your McLean, VA veterinarian as soon as you realize your pet has consumed any of the following items as these can become an emergency situation very quickly!


Chocolate, as well as caffeine, contain a chemical called theobromine, which are HIGHLY toxic to dogs! It can affect cats as well however, they usually avoid sweet foods so they usually not affected. The darker the chocolate means it is more toxic because it will contain higher levels of the methylxanthines (theobromine and caffeine).

If your pet has ingested chocolate, you may notice hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, elevated, possible abnormal heart rates, seizures and  even Pancreatitis.


Xylitol, a sweetener found in many sugar free gums, candies, baked goods, toothpaste and vitamins, can cause insulin to be rapidly released into a dog’s bloodstream, which can cause an extreme drop in blood sugar, liver failure and death. With Xylitol toxicity, you will notice lethargy, weakness, vomiting, and seizures.


Lilies are never recommended within the home if you have cats. These plants are always around at Easter time but, although they are beautiful, they are HIGHLY toxic to cats and should never be in the home or, if you have an outdoor cat, in your yard. The entire lily plant is toxic; the leaves, flower, pollen, even the water they are stored in!

Lilies can cause kidney failure or even lead to death, so prompt treatment is required. If you notice extreme thirst, seizures, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration in your cat, call your veterinarian right away, time is of the essence.

Easter Basket Grass and Toys

If you plan to use plastic grass and plastic eggs in your baskets, or have foil wrapped candies and toys, make sure they are kept up and away from your pets to avoid them having access to eating or chewing on these. These items can cause serious digestive problems for your pet, often requiring surgery to remove the foreign objects.

Our hope is by sharing this information with you, that your entire family, both 2 and 4 legged, can enjoy this beautiful time of year together and stay safe and healthy. We are available anytime you have questions or concerns so give us a call today at 703-356-5000.