Valentine’s Day is almost here! That means lots of chocolate, candy and flowers. Unfortunately, that also means lots of sick pets! Every year around this holiday, thousands of pets are hospitalized when they eat something they shouldn’t have eaten. To help keep pets safe this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share some common Valentine’s Day gifts that can be dangerous or even deadly to our pets and tell you what to do if your pet gets into something.
People aren’t the only ones who find chocolate irresistible. With their amazing sense of smell, dogs and cats always seem to find chocolate goodies. Unfortunately, chocolate can be toxic to pets, as most people know. Chocolate contains theobromine, a relative of caffeine, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and even death in pets. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most dangerous because they contain the highest concentration of theobromine but even milk chocolate can be deadly if enough is consumed.
It’s not just chocolate that we have to watch out for. Candy with xylitol is also very dangerous to pets. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is often found in sugar-free gums, mints, and candies. Small amounts can cause a rapid and life-threatening drop in blood sugar, and ingestion of large amounts can cause acute liver failure and death. If your pet manages to get ahold of any candy or gum containing xylitol, immediately call your veterinarian for help or take your pet to a veterinary emergency clinic.
Flowers are one of the most common Valentine’s Day gifts, but you have to be careful if you have cats. Certain plants can be dangerous or even deadly to curious cats. Lilies in particular are highly toxic to cats causing kidney failure and death. Every part of a lily is toxic: the leaves, stems, flowers. If you have cats, keep lilies out of your house and check your bouquet to make sure it does not have these toxic flowers.
In order to keep your pets safe this Valentine’s Day, remember to keep all chocolate and candies safely out of reach of your four-legged friends and check any bouquets for toxic flowers like lilies. If your pet gets into any of these items, take your pet to the vet right away. Do not wait for symptoms to develop. If your veterinarian isn’t open, immediately take them to an emergency clinic. If you aren’t sure if what they ate is toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. When you are thinking about your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget about your four-legged friends. Our furry friends give us unconditional love and companionship year-round. Show how much you love them by keeping them safe this Valentine’s Day.