top of page

6 common Easter items that are deadly for pets, according to experts

Veterinarians nationwide are warning pet owners of Easter flowers, food, and decorations that can have deadly consequences for pets.

During the week of Easter, calls to the Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increased by nearly 200%. However, many other unknown Easter treats can be toxic to dogs and cats.

While flowers such as lilies and tulips are renowned Easter and springtime florals, they can also lead to potentially fatal health complications if ingested by pets. TrustedHousesitters worked with veterinarians to learn about the biggest risks to pets. Here are six items that pet owners should keep away from their pets this Easter:


According to the Pet Poison Helpline Toxin Trends dashboard, lilies, a popular spring flower, are the most common toxin to cats, making up 12.3% of all calls to the hotline. While lilies may be stunning to look at, these should be avoided by pet owners. Certified veterinarian Amanda Takiguchi, DVM, explains:

“A common flower that veterinarians warn cat owners against is lilies. Even eating a small amount of this flower can cause deadly kidney failure in cats. Multiple species of lilies are toxic to cats, so it’s best to avoid lilies altogether. Owners need to be especially cautious around Easter when these flowers are more popular.”

“Whilst similar in name, Lily of the Valley flowers do not cause acute kidney failure like true lily species. Regardless, Lily of the Valley flowers are highly toxic to both dogs and cats. If ingested, this flower can cause seizures and dangerous abnormalities in heart rate and rhythm.”

Check your Easter bouquets for lilies, and if you’re sending any flowers to households with pets this spring, be sure to choose a lily-free option.


While most pet owners are aware of the risks of chocolate, another dangerous sweet treat to look out for is xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free Easter treats.

"In dogs, xylitol can cause them to release large amounts of insulin, leading to a rapid drop in blood sugar. If their blood sugar drops too low, severe hypoglycemia can occur, which causes symptoms like vomiting, weakness, collapse, seizures, and even death," said Rebecca MacMillan, BVetMed, BSAVA, PGCertSAM, MRCVS. "Keep any artificial sweeteners that you might use for your baking well out of reach, alongside any sugar-free sweets or chocolates."


Daffodils are extremely poisonous for many pets, including cats and dogs. Your canine or feline friend will experience severe vomiting and health concerns if they ingest any part of a daffodil, but the bulb is particularly poisonous. Keep an eye on your dog if you are in an area where they may dig bulbs up, as it can make them very unwell.


Tulips are extremely toxic to both dogs and cats. The toxin is concentrated in the bulbs, but all parts of the plant can be harmful, and ingestion can cause excessive drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, central nervous system depression, and even cardiac abnormalities.

Easter Eggs & Decor

While exciting for children and adults alike, easter egg hunting can be dangerous for curious cats and dogs. Be sure to keep an eye on your pets to ensure they don’t find and consume hidden eggs or the treats inside these eggs. In addition, educate children on the dangers of sharing a sweet treat with their pets.

"Curious cats and dogs could put themselves in danger by chewing or even accidentally eating these decorations,” said Rebecca MacMillan. “Fragile egg-shaped baubles could easily shatter, and small fluffy toy chicks are just the right size to be swallowed. This is why you should always keep any decorations out of reach from your pets.”

Easter Dinner

If you’re celebrating Easter with a ham or turkey dinner, be sure to dispose of bones from your meat and avoid giving your pets scrapings.

"A sudden change in diet could lead to mild tummy troubles like vomiting or diarrhea, but, in some cases, a serious episode of painful pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) could be triggered,” said Rebecca MacMillan. “Affected animals could require hospitalization for support and treatment. Fatty foods are particularly to blame in susceptible individuals, so make sure you don't offer your pet meat rinds or any drippings or grease."

In addition, both cooked and raw bones have the potential to cause an obstruction in your pet's digestive system, which could require emergency surgery to rectify.

Angela Laws, award-winning Head of Community at TrustedHousesitters, comments:

"While Easter is a time for people to celebrate, keep a close eye on your furry friend and take extra care that any treats or flowers are safe and pet-friendly to help avoid urgent, stressful, and potentially costly emergency visits to the vet. If you do notice any strange symptoms, keep a close eye on your pet and get straight in touch with a veterinarian for expert advice."

For more advice on specific flowers and plants to avoid, visit the TrustedHousesitters blog:

TrustedHousesitters is the leading travel solution for pet people; a global community whose love of pets and travel enables home sharing and pet caring all over the world. The service was founded in Brighton, UK in 2010 and has over 200,000 members in more than 140 countries, responsible for 10 million nights of pet sitting. A subscription gives unlimited access to short and long term sits with no further money changing hands. Sitters explore the world while staying in real homes and enjoying the companionship of pets. Meanwhile, owners enjoy freedom and peace of mind by prioritizing their pets' well-being at home with a trusted companion. For more information, go to:

How it works

Membership from $129. Pay once a year to arrange as many sits as you like.

Feel safe and secure with referenced, reviewed, background-checked (CBC), and verified sitters.

Relax knowing you or your sitter can call a free 24/7 Vet Advice Line.

Home & contents protection included at no extra cost.


bottom of page