It’s Easter! How did that happen? All of a sudden, here we are. The season of daffodils, chocolate and bunnies is upon us.
If this last year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to make the most of all the good things in our lives. And this, of course, includes our four-pawed friends. So here are a few ideas of how you can enjoy Easter to the max with your pup.
Let’s talk about chocolate
For us two-legged pet parents, an Easter egg is one of the best treats around. Every year, the Easter bunny seems to become more inventive. In the shops recently, we’ve seen a massive Russian doll egg, with five eggs inside each other, a chocolate sloth egg and even a giant blonde chocolate beehive.
But the sad fact is that chocolate is highly toxic for dogs. Chocolate contains lots of sugar, fat and caffeine, none of which are brilliant for your dog’s health in any case. But the ingredient that’s actually poisonous for your pooch is theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao bean.
The theobromine in chocolate is toxic for dogs. So lock those Easter eggs away!
For humans, the combination of caffeine and theobromine raises our spirits and makes us feel more alert. It’s one of the reasons why we find chocolate so addictive.
But while it’s easy for us to digest theobromine, it can make your dog sick, and can even be fatal. White chocolate has less of this toxic substance than milk chocolate, but can still cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Milk chocolate is toxic for dogs, and dark and baking chocolate are the worst of all, as they have higher concentrations of theobromine.
If your dog does eat chocolate, call your vet straight away. You might also find this chocolate toxicity calculator helpful.
In general, though, prevention is much better than cure. Keep those Easter eggs well out of range of your pooch.
If you want to give your dog an Easter treat, try safe choc drops instead. These Good Boy chocolate treats are specially formulated for dogs and have the added benefit of containing vitamins A, D3 and E to support healthy skin, bone growth and eyesight.
Did you know that raisins are toxic for dogs too? So ignore the paw and keep that hot cross bun for yourself.
A dog-friendly Easter treat hunt
Because chocolate is toxic for dogs, it’s not a good idea to have a traditional Easter egg hunt for your kids in the garden. You can bet your hound will sniff out the chocolate far quicker than your children, which could cause tears all round.
Instead, why not set up a dog-friendly Easter treat hunt? Place dog-friendly choc drops or some of your dog’s favourite treats around your garden, then let your pup search for the edible treasures.
The first time you do this, make it easy for your dog to find the treats by hiding them somewhere flat and accessible, like on your lawn. As they get the hang of the game, you can make it harder by hiding treats under a bucket, in an Easter basket or in long grass or bushes.
Get your kids involved by letting them choose where to hide the treats and encouraging them to praise your dog each time they unearth a prize.
More fun in the garden
As well as Easter treat hunts, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the garden with your dog right now. When you get outside, you can all enjoy the fresh air and let off some steam.
Here are a few ideas for garden games to try with your dog this Easter:
Play football with your dog. This isn’t so much about kicking a ball as encouraging your pooch to nose it through the grass. This game is fun for your dog and has the added bonus that you won’t have to explain the offside rule.
Set up a home-made agility course. An agility course in your garden is an excellent way to keep your pup active and mentally stimulated. Improvise a course that includes jumps and tunnels, or look online for tips on how to build your own dog agility course. Next stop, Crufts!
Get doggy paddling in the pool. While we’re unlikely to have a heatwave this Easter, your pooch can still enjoy splashing about in a paddling pool. If your dog’s nervous of water, you can help them conquer that fear by letting them chase the water spray from a garden hose.
Beating Springtime allergies
April is the height of the tree pollen season, when the pollen from trees such as pine, mulberry and willow is in full flight.
This can cause havoc for your dog if they have hay fever. Interestingly, dogs don’t sneeze when they’re allergic to something. They’re far more likely to scratch, bite or lick themselves.
One of the simplest ways to guard against the irritating symptoms of hay fever and other dog skin conditions is to ensure that your pet’s natural skin defences are in tip-top condition with a supplement like YuDERM Itchy Dog.