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Pet Safety Tips For Valentine’s Day
February 1, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Day! The lovers’ holiday is marked with lots of romantic trappings, such as chocolates, roses, and stuffed animals. You might even find some cute things for your pet! Just be careful, as many of Cupid’s accessories are dangerous to our furry companions. Here’s some advice from a local Washington Heights, TX veterinarian on keeping your pet safe over the holidays!

Choose Flowers Carefully

Those pretty Valentine’s Day flowers add a special, romantic touch to any home. However, bouquets can pose serious dangers to your four-legged friend.

Roses, the classic Valentine’s Day flower, are not toxic. However, the thorns can cause cuts to pets’ mouths and are not safe to ingest. Lilies, however, are highly toxic. In fact, they are one of the most deadly plants for cats. Cats can go into organ failure just by nibbling a leaf or drinking a little of the water.

Other popular flowers that are toxic to pets include:

  • Daffodils
  • Foxglove
  • Lily Of The Valley
  • Tulips
  • Oleander
  • Hyacinth
  • Cyclamens
  • Irises
  • Hydrangeas

The ASPCA website a complete list of safe and unsafe plants online here.

Keep in mind that even non-toxic plants become dangerous if treated with pesticides. Also, pets could choke on leaves or stems. Decoration with glitter or small ornaments, like a small plastic heart or cute little Cupid.

Keep Stuffed Animals Away From Pets

Many people get cute teddy bears or other stuffed animals for Valentine’s Day. As many of you know, our canine pals are very, very fond of these. Unfortunately, they can be dangerous. In many cases, stuffed animals have small parts or pieces that are choking hazards. Some examples include plastic eyes or buttons on a teddy bear’s vest.

Anything with a battery should be handled with extra care. That includes stuffies that sing, move, or light up.

Additionally, Fido would be at risk if he swallowed the stuffing or squeaker. Some of our canine companions remove these with almost surgical precision!

Dogs are more at risk with these than cats. Kitties will probably prefer to curl up with that cute teddy bear for a nap. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution anyway.

Never Give Your Pet Chocolate

Chocolate is often on the list of the most dangerous foods for pets, and with good reason. It’s one of the only things that is toxic to nearly all pets, with the exception of rats and mice. It can even be fatal at just one pound per ounce of his or her body weight.

A substance called theobromine is the issue here. It is similar to caffeine, which is also found in chocolate. However, pets are unable to metabolize theobromine properly. Ingestion can cause a variety of symptoms. It can be fatal at just one ounce per pound of a pet’s body weightAlthough it is rare for pets to ingest a fatal dose of the drug, it is possible.

Keep a close eye out for signs of ingestion. These include

  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Panting  
  • Increased Thirst
  • Excessive Urination
  • Racing Heart Rate

More severe symptoms include muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure.

Not all chocolates are equal. Dark, bitter chocolate is the most dangerous, because it contains the highest level of cocoa. Bakers’ chocolate and unsweetened chocolate are more dangerous than milk chocolate. However, even something with just a little bit of chocolate is unsafe.

It’s also worth noting that chocolate sweets often contain a lot of fat and sugar, which also aren’t safe. They can in severe cases even cause pancreatitis in pets. Ask your Washington Heights, TX veterinarian for more information.

Keep Candles In Safe Places

Pets and fire are always a dangerous combination. In fact, our furry pals start more than a thousand fires every year. Fluffy can accidentally stick her tail into a candle flame. Fido can actually knock one over.

Put candles in high, secure spots. Better yet, use thick candle holders for added security. Or, just opt for flameless candles. These offer that pretty lighting without the associated risk.

Only Offer Safe Foods

Pets definitely deserve a special holiday treat! Just be cautious what you share with Fido and Fluffy. Many popular foods can be toxic to our furry friends, including meat on the bone, garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, avocado, raw dough, yeast, and any food containing xylitol, salt, sugar, or fat.

Don’t Give Pets Hard Candies

While candies may seem harmless, pet owners should be aware of a few things. The wrappers can pose a choking hazard, and can also potentially cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.

Additionally, many sweets contain ingredients that are unsafe for pets, such as xylitol (also known as birch sugar) which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Chocolate is another risk. The high fat and sugar content also isn’t great. It’s best to keep these treats away from Fido and Fluffy.

Keep Cards Out Of Paws’ Reach

Is your canine companion a chewer? If so, you’ll want to be careful with cards. The paper itself isn’t a huge danger; the concern here is more with cards that play music or light up. These contain small batteries, which you definitely don’t want your furry friend to ingest. Many cards are also decorated with glitter, paint, and dye, which aren’t safe for pets.

Don’t Share That Wine

Many couples celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic candlelit dinner, which often includes a bottle of wine. Your pet may be quite interested in sampling the menu.

You can get Fido a chew toy shaped like a wine bottle. Fluffy can even enjoy her own catnip wine. Just don’t share your drinks. Alcohol is very dangerous to our four-legged friends! Consumption of even small amounts can make your pet very sick.

Some common signs to watch for include the following:

  • Depression  
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Lack Of Coordination
  • Trouble Breathing

If you notice any of these issues, contact your Washington Heights, TX animal clinic immediately.

General Tips

It is also important for our customers to be aware of the common signs of poisoning in pets. These include:

  • Excessive Urination
  • Dark stools
  • Swelling
  • Increased Thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Pale Gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Lethargy
  • Inability To Urinate
  • Trembling
  • Restlessness

Contact us at 713-893-5808 or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 immediately if you see any of these signs. (Charges may apply for the Hotline.)

Note: we do advise keeping pet first-aid kits on hand. These may include items that would be used in a poisoning situation, such as peroxide or activated charcoal. However, you should only use these if and when instructed to do so by your veterinarian.Show Some Love

Now that we’ve gotten the serious bits out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff. What about including Fido and Fluffy in your Valentine’s Day celebration? Pet product companies are creating a whole slew of adorable accessories for the occasion. There are lots of cute heart-themed doggy jackets and blankets to choose from.Fluffy may enjoy batting at a catnip heart, while Fido might look adorable posing in a heart-shaped ring of rose petals.

Conclusion: Remember that a little precaution goes a long way when celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, including your pets. Be aware of common hazards, such as chocolate, candles, and small toys.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you need to make an appointment with your furry friend? Feel free to contact us, your local Washington Heights, TX pet hospital, if you have any questions about your pet’s health or care. We’re here to help!