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How to create an Easter "egg" hunt for your dog at home

How to create an Easter "egg" hunt for your dog at home

3 min read

This Easter, share the Easter "egg" hunt fun with your dog, using dog treats instead of Easter eggs to keep them safe from chocolate (which is toxic to dogs)

Egg-stra special hunt

Guide Dogs reveal how dog owners can create the paw-fect "egg" hunt for their four-legged friends at home, and the sight loss charity raises awareness of the Easter treats that are bad for dogs.
Guide Dogs designed a dog-friendly Easter egg hunt that’s not only enriching but also a fun training activity, which dog owners can do at home dogs and put their dogs’ noses to the test by encouraging them to seek out special treats on offer. 
An egg-stra special hunt involves hiding toys and treats in an enclosed space outside for the dogs to eagerly sniff out; the training has been created by Guide Dogs experts and dog specialists.

Chocolate and hot cross buns are toxic to dogs

During the spring holiday, vets typically see a surge in cases of dogs who have accidentally eaten Easter treats that are bad for them, including chocolate and the lesser-known food hot cross buns, which are extremely poisonous to dogs. 
"Chocolate is toxic for dogs due to an ingredient called theobromine, so keep it well out of their reach"
Caroline Goulton, Veterinary Surgeon for Guide Dogs, says: “Over the Easter weekend, many of us will host Easter egg hunts or exchange chocolate Easter eggs. Chocolate is toxic for dogs due to an ingredient called theobromine. Dogs naturally love to sniff and find treats, so make sure to keep chocolate well out of their reach, whether in the home, or in the garden during an egg hunt.
“While most dog owners are aware of the dangers of chocolate, hot cross buns are also poisonous to dogs as they contain sultanas or raisins—a single raisin has the potential to cause kidney failure. If you suspect your dog has eaten something it shouldn’t, contact your vet as soon as possible, as prompt treatment is very important in these cases and follow their advice.”

Sniffing for treats and treasures

Dog biscuits and treats
Dogs naturally love to sniff and find treats and treasures, so don’t leave them out of the Easter fun. While hiding chocolate eggs is not a good idea when pets are around, a dog-safe version of an egg hunt can be set up by anyone as an enriching and exciting activity. 
"Make sure you take the food from your dog’s daily allowance to prevent overfeeding them"
So, to help keep dogs entertained and away from sweet and tempting dangers, National Dog Training Lead for Guide Dogs, Hannah Wright, reveals a step-by-step guide for creating an egg-cellent dog-friendly Easter egg hunt at home:

Step 1: Find it!

Start by teaching your dog the simple "find it" cue. Hide a single treat under a cushion or plastic cup in front of them, and then encourage them to find it. 

Step 2: Praise your dog

Once they have found the treat, remember to praise them! 

Step 3: Hide more toys or treats

Then build this up to hiding more toys or treats in different places around your home. Top tip: you can make it more difficult for them by having them in the next room while you set it up. 

Step 4: More fun outside

Take the fun outside, as dogs love sniffing through long grass! Hide the dog treats behind plant pots and beneath garden benches, then encourage your four-legged friend to find them all! But remember to check if your garden has dog-safe plants, as daffodils, especially the bulbs, are toxic to dogs. 
Dog with chicken toy

Step 5: Cash in the toy

If your dog becomes confident and good at finding the treats or toys, why not up the ante and get your dog to find a hidden toy or item and then "cash it in" by returning it to you for a treat.

Key things to remember! 

Make sure you take the food from your dog’s daily allowance to prevent overfeeding. You can even build up to having your dog find a whole dinner—which is far more enjoyable compared to eating straight from a bowl.
"It's not only a mentally stimulating activity, but also a way for your dog to learn something new"
Hannah Wright, National Dog Training Lead for Guide Dogs, says: “A dog-friendly Easter egg hunt is not only a mentally stimulating and engaging activity, but also a great way for your dog to learn something new and build a stronger relationship with you.”
Banner photo by Benjamin Lehman
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