Valentine’s Day is meant to be all about love — love for that special someone, your family and friends and, of course, for your pet. But all those sweet treats and gifts meant for the humans among us can pose big threats to our four-legged besties. Show your pet some love this holiday by keeping these potentially dangerous items out of reach.
Sweets. Chocolates may be the perfect after-dinner dessert for your honey, but dogs and cats cannot tolerate the treat like humans do. The high fat content, caffeine and especially theobromine (a stimulant) can cause a variety of health problems for your pet, including vomiting, accelerated heart rate, seizures and cardiac arrest. Typically, dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.
Sugar-free candies are also hazardous to pets. Many contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can rapidly alter insulin levels leading to liver failure or even death. Gum and breath mints are the main culprits.
Flowers. Lilies are extremely toxic to pets, especially cats. Every aspect of the lily is poisonous, from the petals to the vase water. Even a small amount of lily pollen can cause kidney failure, as can ingesting one or two leaves or petals. Asiatic lilies are the worst offenders, but many other types of lilies are also unsafe. Tulips are also poisonous, as well as roses (with thorns that can also get embedded in paws or throats if ingested) and should be avoided for a pet-friendly bouquet.
Jewelry. Many of us love to receive something shiny from that special someone. The problem is, cats and dogs are also attracted to sparkly things. Countless examples exist of curious pets ingesting rings, necklaces or other jewelry. Be sure to keep any baubles out of your pet’s reach, and if you suspect your pet swallowed something, contact us immediately — waiting for it to pass naturally may cause further damage to your furry friend’s digestive tract.
Alcohol. If champagne, wine or any cocktail is part of your sweetheart celebration, keep it far from your pet. Even a small amount can be toxic and can cause tremors, vomiting, difficulty breathing or coma. Don’t forget about the small amounts found in some foods, such as desserts soaked in alcohol, sauces for pasta and pure vanilla extract.
When planning your Valentine’s Day, keep your pet (or your loved one’s pet) in mind when it comes to gifts, food and festivities. It’s better to be safe than sorry so everyone — pets included — can feel the love on Feb. 14.