NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As you put together baskets, decorate your home, and hide Easter eggs around the yard, keep in mind that certain holiday traditions are not fun or healthy for pets.

VCA Animal Hospitals issued a warning about the importance of keeping animals safely secured while the rest of your family fills their baskets with Easter goodies that could make pets sick.

For example, chocolate bunnies are very popular over the holiday weekend, bringing joy to people with their delicious flavor and whimsical shape. However, any kind of chocolate is extremely dangerous for both cats and dogs, especially dark chocolate.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, chocolate can cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as hyperactivity, tremors and seizures, elevated heart rates, and pancreatitis among pets.

You should also keep your furry friends away from sugar-free jellybeans, as well as other candies and gums sweetened with xylitol, an ingredient that can be deadly for dogs.

“Within just a few minutes, xylitol can cause life-threatening low blood sugar and can lead to acute liver failure,” VCA Animal Hospitals explained. “It doesn’t take much candy to potentially cause poisoning—a 10-pound dog would only have to eat one piece!

Even though cats don’t seem to be affected by xylitol as badly as dogs, you are encouraged to keep any sweets containing it away from them.

In addition to the toxic nature of chocolate and candy, their wrappers can also pose a threat to pets. The sweet smell of the foil or plastic wrappers might be tempting to animals, but if they eat those wrappers, it can lead to an obstruction in the stomach or intestines.

Despite the wide range of forbidden holiday treats, you can still create a pet-friendly Easter basket that will leave your furry friend hopping with happiness.

  • Purrfect basket for a cat:
    • Peeps catnip bunny toys 
    • Teeth cleaning treats
    • Mylar crinkle balls that encourage movement
    • Laser pointer for active play sessions
    • Holiday collar with a built-in bell
    • Comb or brush for pampering sessions
    • Organic cat grass that provides an opportunity for safe and fun grazing
  • Barktastic basket for a dog:
    • Spring- or Easter-themed collar and leash
    • Slide-on bandana for some seasonal flair 
    • Egg- or bunny-shaped “cookies” from a pet bakery 
    • Easter-themed plush toy 
    • Dental chews 

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Besides Easter baskets’ sugary contents, there are plenty of other edible items and decorations that go hand-in-hand with the holiday, not all of which are pet-friendly.

For instance, if the Easter ham and all its fixings make your mouth water, imagine how irresistible they are to your pet. However, you need to resist the urge to share any table scraps with your furry friends, and tell your guests to do the same.

Rich and fatty foods can upset the gastrointestinal system, or worse, inflame the pancreas and cause pancreatitis, experts said. In order to avoid such issues, you are urged to limit your pets to their veterinarian-approved dinner.

Meanwhile, the plastic Easter grass may make a pretty addition to an Easter basket or another holiday display, but VCA Animal Hospitals described it as “an accident waiting to happen.”

If an animal eats the plastic grass, it can obstruct the digestive tract, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, lethargy, and stomach pain. Cats, in particular, are at risk of intestinal injury from consuming a foreign object like that, according to experts.

You can use crinkled paper as a substitute for the plastic grass if necessary, since pets can digest the paper if they nibble some pieces that cross their path during the egg hunt.

If you’re planning to give a pet owner another kind of gift for Easter — more specifically, a holiday bouquet — keep in mind that many seasonal plants are actually toxic for animals.

VCA Animal Hospitals and the ASPCA provided a list of spring plants that can be poisonous for pets:

  • Lilies
    • The Easter Lily, the Japanese Lily, Oriental Lily Hybrids, the Stargazer Lily, the Casa Blanca Lily, the Tiger Lily, and the Daylily are extremely dangerous for felines. Eating a tiny amount of those plants, or even being exposed to the pollen or vase water, can lead to acute kidney failure, so watch out for symptoms like vomiting, anorexia, and depression.
    • Exposure to other types of lilies — including the Peruvian Lily, the Lily of the Valley, the Calla Lily or Trumpet Lily, the Peace Lily, and the Flame Lily — will not result in acute kidney injury, but it can still make cats sick.
    • As for dogs, lilies aren’t as toxic for them, but they can still cause gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Daffodils can lead to vomiting, salivation, and diarrhea. However, large ingestion can result in convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and heart arrhythmias.
  • Tulips can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation.
  • Hyacinths can lead to intense vomiting and diarrhea with blood, as well as tremors.

You can also check out the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List to determine whether your Easter bouquet is safe for animals.

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If you believe your pet ate anything that could be toxic, try to figure out what and how much they ate. Then, contact your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.