Easter fun with pets
Yummy treat hunts, dress ups and outdoor fun – what’s not to love about Easter? This year, you may want to include your furry family members in the activities, especially if you have young kids to join in the fun.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for pet-friendly festive treats and other fun ways to celebrate this Easter, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done the research for you… from fun activities to pet-friendly festive treats to special Easter gifts for your dog or cat. And if you enjoy dressing your pet up, Easter is the purr-fect opportunity!
Easter egg hunt
Easter isn’t complete without an egg hunt, so put your pet’s superior sense of smell to work with a challenging and stimulating Easter treat scent search. Depending on the weather, you can set up a scent hunt indoors or outside in the yard. Just make sure that there are no chocolate eggs left behind by the human hunters.
Easter can be a dangerous time for your pet because of the increased risk of ingesting chocolate, which is harmful to dogs and cats. The Animal Poisons Hotline includes chocolate in its list of the most common animal poisons. If you suspect your pet has consumed chocolate or any other toxins, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 TOX PET immediately.
So, definitely no chocolate eggs for your pet’s scent hunt, but why not go for the real deal instead? Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse and an important source of protein and other key nutrients. Simply hard-boil a couple of eggs, remove the shells, cut the eggs into chunks, and place these inside some small boxes or other containers. Then ‘hide’ these around the yard or living room for your pet to find. Alternatively, you can have your pet hunt for some their favourite foods or some special Easter treats (see our recommendations below).
Depending on your pet’s interest and expertise, you can make the hunt more challenging by closing the lids of the boxes and by hiding them in trickier spots. Be sure to supervise your pet during the search, giving lots of encouragement, praise and assistance if needed.
More fun and games with an Easter flavour
- Purchase a bag of coloured plastic eggs or food dispenser balls and fill them with small objects that will make rattling noises when your pet bats them around on the floor. Or use them for your pet’s Easter egg hunt by filling them with some favourite treats and/or pet food.
- Wrap some treats or a toy in Easter wrapping paper and let your pet open the present and find the prizes inside. Some pets might also enjoy playing with the paper and the rustling sound it makes.
- Use an empty egg carton to create a puzzle feeder – simply portion your pet’s normal meal into each of the 6 or 12 compartments. To increase the challenge, cover the individual compartments with “lids” made from plastic egg halves. You can also close the lid of the egg box and let your pet work out how to open it.
- Tie a string to a toy bunny or chicken and pull it around the room or garden, simulating the movements of “prey” for your pet to stalk (this one is very popular with cats!). You could also attach the toy to a toy fishing rod and dangle it above her head, just out of reach. Watch her jump and bounce around as she attempts to catch the toy. Allow her to catch and “kill” the toy from time to time to prevent frustration!
- Turn a ping-pong ball into a fun, feline Easter activity by decorating it (if you are artistically inclined) and then simply toss it against the floor or wall for your cat to attempt to catch or have a swipe at. (Suitable for smaller animals who won’t be able to swallow the ball).
- Play hide-and-seek with your dog, family members and some Easter treats. Have your dog stay out of sight with one family member, who counts out loud from one to ten. Meanwhile, other family members take consecutive turns to hide, while holding a treat, in various places around the home. Bring your dog back in and tell him to “go find ____!” If help is needed, you can lead him around with a leash, encourage him or point to areas for him to explore. When he finds the hidden person, reward him with lots of praise and, of course, the treat.
Note: don’t leave your pet unsupervised with toys (including plastic eggs) which might be shredded and/or eaten.
Easter clothing and dress ups for pets
Whether it’s a family tradition to dress up for Easter, or a fun photo opportunity, why not include your pet? If they don’t take kindly to being dressed, try distracting them with treats while you sneakily slip them into the outfit.
If you’re reluctant to spend time and money on an outfit that your pet might refuse to wear, immediately wriggle out of or simply rip off, you can always try your hand at a cheap and easy DIY. For example, in just a few minutes you can whip up some pipe cleaner bunny ears or no-sew bunny ears, or you can purchase a piece of Easter-themed fabric to create your own festive bandanas or bow ties. If DIY isn’t for you, here are some gorgeous Easter wearables from Australian retailers.
1. Easter Bunny Dog Costume by More than Paws
Turn your pet into the Easter bunny with this cute pink or blue bunny rabbit costume. Made from cotton with a white tail and hood with ears.
2. Bunny Rabbit Snood from Henlo Pets
If you don’t fancy the ordeal of dressing your pet in an entire bunny outfit, you can just do the bunny ears. This comfy Bunny Zoo Snood with its two long crocheted ears is made from stretchy yarn with a woven elastic band for flexible fit. It’s available in sizes small, medium and large.
3. Aussie Easter Bandana from Twomoodles
This ultra-chic lightweight Easter-themed bandana is made with custom printed quality fabric that can be soaked in water and used to keep your pet cool. Matching bow tie also available.
4. Plush Bunny Headband
If you’re looking for a simple Easter dress up for your pup – or matching gear that you can both wear – there’s always the traditional bunny ear headpiece. This one is best suited for medium and large dogs.
Easter pet presents
When it comes to “spoiling” our pets, toys are far from a frivolous purchase. A favourite toy can provide hours of entertainment and stimulation, keeping them busy while you are away from home or occupied with other things. However, even the best toys can become boring and stale, so it’s worth investing in some new ones from time to time.
When it comes to mental enrichment for pets, some toys are in a class of their own, and we’ve found a select few that would make great Easter presents.
1. Cat Toy Pajama Buddy Catnip from KONG
Designed by Kong specifically for cats, this soft and snuggly bunny contains a pouch to securely hold a hidden vial of catnip. When the catnip scent fades, it can be replaced with a fresh batch.
2. Easter Egg Enrichment Ball from DoggyTopia
Made from non-toxic natural rubber, this hollow egg-shaped toy is great for interactive play and will keep your pet mentally stimulated. Simply place kibble or treats into the diamond shaped holes to provide a fun enrichment challenge.
3. Zippy Burrow Easter Bunny ‘n Carrot by Zippy Paws
The Zippy Burrow™ Bunny ‘n Carrot is an interactive toy that can provide hours of hide-and-seek entertainment. Your dog needs to dig all three squeaky bunnies out of their carrot dwelling, and you need to replace them so that the fun can begin all over again.
4. Easter Nylon Bunny from Rover Pet Products
The Easter Nylon Bunny is both a primary enrichment toy and a tough chew toy. Made from strong nylon that can withstand power chewers, it’s hollow, so can be stuffed with food and treats. The perfect Easter toy for adult dogs!
5. Ricochet Electronic Dog Toys from PetSafe
Perfect for dogs who love squeaky toys, this set of paired electronic “egg” toys will make playtime fun and stimulating. When your dog plays with one toy, the other toy squeaks when up to 9 metres away. Throughout playtime, the sound switches between the toys to keep your dog alert and engaged.
Durable enough for intense play, you can play an interactive game of hide and “squeak” with your dog or they can be used for self-play while you’re away (they stay active for up to an hour before they automatically shut off).
The wonderful people at PetSafe have provided our readers with a 10% discount for all purchases on their website (excluding ScoopFree replacement trays) – use code petsafe10 at checkout.
Easter-themed food treats for pets
These Australian-made Easter pet treats look so good, you would be forgiven for thinking they are meant for humans! And while your pet might not appreciate the workmanship, they are sure to enjoy the taste.
Up the ante of your pet’s Easter egg hunt with a special Easter-themed treat as a ‘prize’ to sniff out, or make up a special Easter basket filled with some favourite goodies (your pet might also enjoy playing with, or curling up in, the basket!) We’ve sourced some cute and crunchy Australian-made products that are sure to be a big hit.
1. Easter Cookie Mix Dog Treats from Huds and Toke
This 3-piece of cute festive cookies is designed for dogs. Made with a tasty nutty crunchy base and frosted with a low-fat yoghurt frosting, the cookies are hard baked for increased chew time. But don’t stop there; be sure to check out the entire range of Easter dog treats from Huds and Toke.
2. Personalised Dog Easter Bunny from Golden Barkery
This Dog Easter Bunny is made from a grain-free honey and vanilla homemade dog biscuit and is decorated with dog friendly yoghurt icing. Each Easter bunny can be personalised with the dog’s name (up to 12 characters) and is presented in a 13cm gift box. Also check out their personalised dog Easter eggs and their boxes of 12 Easter eggs and Easter biscuits that are perfect for egg hunts.
3. Easter Treat Pack from Gourmet Dog Barkery
A yummy pack of 4 oven baked treats made from natural ingredients without preservatives. See also their liver and chicken infused Doggy Easter eggs that can be bought in a 6 or 12 pack.
4. Cat Treats – Milky Hearts
While cat Easter treats are a little more tricky to come by, we did find these feline-friendly Milky Hearts that may capture your cat’s heart this Easter! Containing calcium and magnesium for health and well being, these cat treats are small bite-sized, easily digestible pieces of yum for your cat.