Hold chocolate and flowers for dogs, cats

Benita Kolovos
AAP

Authorities are urging Australians to give their dog a bone, not a chocolate egg, this Easter.

Containing a toxic mix of caffeine and theobromine, chocolate can have deadly consequences for dogs and the danger escalates at Easter.

"Chocolate tastes yummy to all of us, including dogs, but unfortunately it is toxic to dogs so we must be certain to keep chocolate well away from them," Greencross vet Dr Veronica Monaghan told AAP.

She warned that pet owners planning Easter egg hunts should only choose hiding spots which curious canines can't reach.

"They have excellent noses just born to sniff out tasty treats," Dr Monaghan added.

Different types of chocolate have different levels of caffeine and theobromine, with white chocolate having the least and dark chocolate the most, Dr Monaghan said.

"The size of the dog is also important, as a small dog only needs to eat a small amount to be in trouble."

Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia said the company received more than 1000 claims for theobromine and chocolate poisoning in 2017.

"The actual figures could be much higher, as this number only relates to those Australian dog and cat owners that have pet insurance," Ms Crighton said.

"The danger of chocolate is being severely underestimated by unsuspecting owners ... being natural scavengers, (dogs) can sniff out these delights, even if well hidden."

Vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive urination, hyperactivity and increased thirst are all signs of chocolate poisoning.

However, it's not only chocolate that pet owners need to worry about at Easter - the traditional Easter flower, the white lily, can also prove toxic.

All parts of the plant contain a toxic substance which attacks a cat's kidneys.

"Many cat owners are not aware of the extreme danger these plants pose to their cats," Dr Monaghan said.

"Even a cat with a minor exposure, such as biting a leaf, getting lily pollen on his or her whiskers or coat can be fatally poisoned."