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Get egg-cited pups!

By Rachel Crocetti
March 29, 2021
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Picture of corgi dog wearing bunny ears outside
Credit: Ирина Мещерякова / Getty

Easter egg hunts are one of those quintessential spring activities that kids (and let's be honest, adults too) love to participate in. But why should the humans have all the fun? 

Dog-friendly Easter egg hunts are a great bonding experience for you and your pup and will allow them to use their brains and their noses to solve a problem. Much like interactive toys, a doggy Easter egg hunt is reward-based, and designed to be mentally stimulating for your canine. 

Follow these simple steps to host your own dog Easter egg hunt for your pup and all his friends!

How to Host a Dog-Safe Easter Egg Hunt

1. Gather the Eggs

The classic halved plastic Easter eggs that you can find at almost any dollar store can work just fine for a dog Easter egg hunt, with a few safety tips to consider. The plastic eggs can crack and be dangerous if swallowed, so make sure that you open the eggs for your pup. Also, make sure the eggs are large enough so that none of the dogs in attendance can try and eat them whole. If the Easter eggs don't already have a small hole in them, drill one in the top of one half of the egg so that your pup can smell out his prize.

If you are at all concerned about heavy chewers or dogs who are prone to eating things they shouldn't, choose to hide them in KONG toys or other toys that can have treats stuffed into them. This makes it a bit safer and can also be a great "goody bag" item for the pups to take home.

While your dog won't get poisoned if you hide real hardboiled eggs for them to find, moderation is key in feeding your dog any safe human food, and chowing down on a dozen eggs is high in calories and not healthy for any pet, so this is probably an option to avoid.

Another option would be to skip the "egg" altogether! Hiding treats around a yard or large room is just as good for nose work.

2. Choose the Treats

When choosing the best dog treats for an Easter egg hunt, the smellier the better! Try different levels of stinkiness for more advanced or more beginner sniffers. Tiny bone treats are great for advanced noses, while a piece of chicken or some xylitol-free peanut butter have strong enough scents for beginners.

A tip for canine guests with special diets (allergies, puppies, etc.) is to tie balloons to some "special" eggs with a label that says "Fluffy's Treats" (or whatever his name!) so every pup can be included.

Bonus tip: Hide a golden egg with the grand prize in it! Pick the best treat and put it in the special egg for the pups to find! This might be a homemade dog biscuit or a piece of hot dog, or something equally as yummy to pups.

3. Pick a Location

Some communities host dog-friendly Easter egg hunts (look at your local events) but with COVID-19 still prevalent in most communities, this might be the year to host your own hunt. If you have a fenced-in yard, this is perfect for a dog-friendly Easter egg hunt. You could also try a public park or dog park, but be aware of leash laws and make sure to keep your pup on a leash if it is a public space.

If April showers are a problem, you can bring your hunt inside, as long as it is a large enough dog-safe space for a small crew.

4. Hide the Eggs

When hiding the eggs around the space, keep in mind that these are pups and not human children. Even though it's a common misconception that dogs are color blind, they still cannot see the vast range of colors that humans can see, so a bright pink Easter egg won't catch their attention. Pups will primarily be using their excellent sense of smell for this game, so keep the prizes low to the ground and nowhere that could be dangerous for your dog to go (stay away from thorny bushes). 

You may have to help your pup out for the first egg or two. Let them see and smell the treat inside an egg so they can get the hang of it. They will be sniffing out their own prizes after a few tries!

5. Play Referee

Safety always comes first in group activities! Make sure there is plenty of space so dogs can explore without being on top of one another. If a dog has resource guarding issues, consider setting up a personal hunt for them to avoid dog bites and disagreements. To be extra safe, keep pups on-leash so the human participants can monitor and space out the canines. 

If there is a mix of small and large dogs, consider breaking up the group into two hunts!

6. Clean Up!

While the pups will likely do a great job of cleaning up anything edible leftover from the hunt, make sure to pick up the same amount of eggs that you put out to keep your pup or other animals from finding them later on and chewing unsupervised.

Extra credit: Consider putting together small goodie bags or dog-friendly Easter baskets for the pups in attendance to win extra Martha Stewart-level hosting points. Then put on your pup's bunny ears or Easter bandana and get to sniffing!