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How to Give Your Pet an Extra-Special (and Chocolate-Less) Easter

Updated: Aug 15, 2023





We’ve made it to “spring” 2023, and you know what that means: Easter is just around the corner (huh? Wasn’t it just Christmas?). Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, there is one thing we can all get excited about come April: the long-awaited candy sales at the supermarket!


But while you’re preparing Easter baskets, dying eggs, or preparing your home for an Easter egg hunt, be sure to consider how you can show some extra love to your pet this Easter!



How Can I Give My Pet an Extra-Special Easter?

There are many ways you can treat your pet to a special Easter holiday. There’s just one thing you should be sure to avoid letting them get their paws on as you consider hiding places for candy-filled Easter eggs on April 9. You may have guessed it already: chocolate.


You may have heard the warning that chocolate is bad for cats and dogs, but never knew if it was true. Well, it is! While jumbo chocolate bunnies are well-received by many sweet-toothed kiddos and adults on Easter, your dog’s or cat’s tummy will not receive them quite as well as yours might.


Ever wondered why?


The number one ingredient in chocolate is cocoa, the processed form of unroasted cacao beans. Both cacao and cocoa contain an alkaloid called theobromine, which is a stimulant related to caffeine–but much milder–and responsible for the unprocessed plant’s bitter taste.


In certain dosages, theobromine can be toxic for cats and dogs.


The toxicity of theobromine is dependent on a few factors, such as the size of your pet and the type and amount of chocolate they have ingested. Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and unsweetened baking chocolate contain more theobromine than milk chocolate. For reference, baking chocolate contains about six times more theobromine than, say, a Hershey bar.


However, consuming just four ounces of milk chocolate can be lethal for small dogs.


Potentially culminating in death, theobromine poisoning can lead to a multitude of unpleasant reactions from your pets. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to: restlessness, hyperactivity, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Should your pet exhibit any of these reactions from ingesting any amount of chocolate, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is necessary.


So, this Easter, keep the chocolate in your tummy and far away from the reach of your curious pets–and keep reading for fun and yummy chocolate-less Easter treats you can whip up for them instead!



Easter Treats You Can Make For Your Pets at Home

Consider spending some time on Easter Sunday making your dog or cat some chocolate-free treats that they can munch on while you enjoy your Easter basket treats! Here are some fun ideas to get you started.



Strawberry Dog Treat Recipe

Ingredients *yields about 20 treats

- ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries

- 1 cup flour of choice (recommended: coconut flour)

- 2 eggs

- 1 tbsp oil of choice (recommended: coconut oil)

- optional: add peanut butter, bacon bits, or other berries


Supplies

- 2 mixing bowls

- rolling pin

- cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

- heart-shaped, egg-shaped, or bunny-shaped cookie cutter


Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

  2. Combine chopped strawberries in a bowl with coconut flour and coconut oil.

  3. In a separate, large bowl, beat eggs.

  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of beaten eggs.

  5. Adjust the dough by adding more flour as needed.

  6. With floured hands, form the dough into a ball and roll it out until it is about ½ in. thick.

  7. Use your cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are crisp.

  9. Allow to cool.

  10. Say “‘bone’ appetit” and serve to your dog!






Homemade Cat Treat Recipe

Ingredients *yields about 4-5 dozen quarter-sized treats

- ½ lb chicken, canned or raw (or any other protein, like canned tuna)

- 1 cup quick cooking oats

- 1 egg

- 1 heaping Tbsp catnip

- ¼ cup flour

- ⅓ cup water


Supplies

- food processor or blender

- cutting board

- knife

- rolling pin

- mixing bowl

- mixing spoon

- cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

- small (quarter-sized) heart-shaped cookie cutter


Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

  2. If using raw chicken, boil it until cooked throughout. If using canned chicken or tuna, drain and place into your food processor or blender.

  3. Place the oats, catnip, egg, and chicken or tuna into your food processor or blender. Pulse on low until the mixture is well-mixed. Add a bit of water throughout the mixing process.

  4. Move the mixed ingredients to a mixing bowl and add flour.

  5. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, then place on a floured surface.

  6. Use your rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is about ½ in. thick.

  7. Cut the dough into heart shapes with your cookie cutter.

  8. Place your treats onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  9. Bake for 20 minutes.

  10. Remove the treats from the oven and let them cool for about 15-20 minutes.

  11. Serve to your kitty!





Happy Easter from your friends at Animal Allies Humane Society!


Sources available by request










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