Here are a few foods and gifts to keep out of reach of pets to keep them safe and out of the vet’s office during the most romantic time of the year.
Chocolate is the most popular Valentine’s Day present and unfortunately it’s one of the most toxic foods for your pet. Packed with high amounts of fat, caffeine and stimulants like theobromine, it’s highly dangerous to dogs and cats if consumed in high doses. Make sure to keep any and all forms of chocolate out of reach of your pets. High dozes of theobrimine can cause severe poisoning, resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, agitation, abnormal heart rhythm, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and collapse.
Flowers are a common Valentine’s Day gift, with lilies and roses being most popular picks for the occasion. To our dismay, these beautiful flowers can be toxic to our furry friends if ingested. While there are a number of benign lilies out there like Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies, there are several varieties including the Lillium or Hemerocallis species as well as lily of the valley blooms that are particularly dangerous to cats, potentially leading to acute kidney failure if not treated immediately. These flowers can also be toxic to dogs, causing life-threatening heart arrhythmias when consumed even in small amounts. Keep an eye out for signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming and vomiting if you think your pet may have ingested petals, pollen or even water from these flowers.
Another popular Valentine’s Day flowers to keep in mind are roses. While these won’t necessarily result in a serious poisoning beyond gastrointestinal upset, their sharp thorns can harm your pets’ mouth and paws.
Many types of candy popular around Valentine’s Day contain a naturally occurring sugar substitute known as xylitol. It is most commonly found in breath mints, colorful candy presents and sugar-free cake or muffin mixes. Xylitol is most harmful to dogs, if consumed it can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood sugar known as hyperglycemia as well as liver damage. Pets affected by this toxin can show a lack of coordination, start vomiting, collapse and have seizures, so it’s vital to keep all sweets hidden away.
If you’re planning a candlelit dinner this Valentine’s Day, be careful about leaving lit candles unattended around pets. Dogs and cats are a curious bunch and will want to investigate the flame, potentially burning themselves or start a fire by knocking over a candle. Make sure to put out all candles if you leave a room or adorning the space with a battery-powered flameless candles.
If you suspect that your pet consumed even a small amount of chocolate, flowers, or xylitol, the safest bet is to consult your veterinarian.
And if you’re looking for a special gift for your furry baby, we’ve got a few options to keep them occupied while you enjoy the goodies that may be off limits to them. Consider these Hartz fun toys and tasty treats for cats and dogs.