The ASPCA reports poison control experts view an increase of poisoning of pets around Valentine’s Day, and many traditional gifts can be toxic. When celebrating the holiday, be sure anything dangerous is kept away from pets.
The most popular gift on Valentine’s Day is also the number one danger. Chocolate can be poisonous to pets. The less sweet a piece of chocolate is, such as baking chocolate, the more toxic it can be to pets. This type of chocolate contains theobromine, which has the same effects as caffeine. Lighter chocolate is high in fat which could lead to pancreas inflammation which is life-threatening.
Even if the pet is given an amount that is small which may be non-toxic, it still can cause diarrhea, stomach upset, seizures, dehydration, vomiting and hyperactivity.
Due to their small size, and the fact that they metabolize differently from humans, even a little bit of a Valentine’s Day alcoholic beverage could cause a great deal of harm in pets. Alcohol can cause a lack of coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, metabolic disturbances, and coma. If a large amount is consumed, it could lead to respiratory failure and death.
Sugar-Free Candy and Gum
It is common to give sweet treats on Valentine’s Day. Sugar-free candy and gum contain xylitol, which is very toxic to pets, in particular dogs. If these substances are ingested, it could lead to seizures, hypoglycemia, vomiting, and loss of coordination. In a severe case, it could lead to liver failure.
Flowers and Plants
Many plants and flowers are poisonous to pets and have varying effects. The most popular Valentine’s Day flower, Roses can be harmful. While the flower itself is non-toxic, the thorns can be dangerous. Infection could happen if the thorn punctures the pet’s skin and if eaten can cause damage. Other popular poisonous plants shared on Valentine’s Day are; tulips, calla lily, amaryllis, chrysanthemums, and daisies. After receiving a bouquet, remove all toxic flowers and plants. The ASPCA has a list of all plants and flowers which are toxic to pets.
It may be romantic to light candles on Valentine’s Day, but it could also be hazardous. Cats and dogs who roam could knock over a candle or burn themselves.
Ribbons, bows, cellophane, tape, wrapping paper, and Valentine’s Day balloons could cause choking or vomiting. These items could also get stuck in the throat or digestive tract.
Pets as Gifts
A pet is a lifetime commitment. Giving a Valentine’s Day gift of a pet for somebody does not always turn out well. Before surprising a person with a pet, discuss it first. If one must give a pet as a Valentine’s Day gift, one should think about giving a gift certificate to a shelter. Or, better yet, visit a shelter together to pick out the particular pet.
Many pain relievers to treat a Valentine’s Day a headache are toxic to pets. The drug can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Cats are ten times more likely to suffer from acetaminophen than dogs, and a single dose of acetaminophen can be fatal in cats.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday about love. People should love their pets on this holiday, and keep them safe.
Written by Barbara Sobel
Tribune-Star: Valentine’s Day treats can become threats to furry friends, so keep them safe
Pet MD: Five Valentine’s Day Safety Tips for Your Pets
Animal League America: Five Valentine’s Day Safety Tips for Your Pets
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Barbara Sobel – Used With Permission