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Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tips

February 1, 2024

Cupid has arrived! Valentine’s Day is the year’s most romantic holiday. This special day is often marked with chocolates, roses, and stuffed animals. You can even find some cute things for your pet! Just be careful, as many of Cupid’s accessories are dangerous to pets. Read on as a local Hudson Valley, NY veterinarian offers tips on keeping your pets safe during the holidays.

Place Bouquets Away From Pets

Valentine’s Day flowers add a special touch to any home, but they can pose serious dangers to your pet.

Roses are the classic Valentine’s Day flower. They are not toxic, but their thorns can cut pets’ mouths and can cause internal injuries if swallowed. Lilies, on the other hand, are extremely toxic to kitties. In fact, they are among the most deadly plants for cats. Just nibbling a leaf or drinking a little water is enough to cause potentially-fatal organ damage.

Several other popular flowers are toxic to pets. These include daffodils, foxglove, tulips, oleander, lily of the valley, hyacinth, cyclamens, irises, and hydrangeas. You can find a complete list of safe and unsafe plants online on the ASPCA website here.

It’s important to know that even non-toxic plants can become dangerous if treated with pesticides or decorated with glitter or small ornaments, like a plastic heart or cute little Cupid. Pets can also choke on leaves or stems.  

Be Careful With Stuffed Animals

As many of you know, our canine pals love playing with teddy bears and other stuffed animals. They remind dogs of the small critters they would hunt in the wild. However, plushies can also be dangerous. Many stuffed animals come with small parts or pieces that can be choking hazards, such as the plastic eyes or buttons on a teddy bear’s vest. Stuffed animals that sing, move, or light up are also unsafe, as these have small batteries. In addition, your pup could also be at risk of choking or internal injuries if he were to swallow the stuffing and squeaker.

Stuffed animals aren’t usually quite as dangerous to cats: Fluffy is more likely to curl up with that cute teddy bear for a nap than try to eat it. That said, erring on the side of caution is always a good idea.

Never Give Fido Or Fluffy Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the few foods that is toxic to almost all pets, with the exception of rats and mice. It can even be fatal at just one pound per ounce of a pet’s body weight.

The danger here is a substance called theobromine. It’s similar to caffeine, which is also found in chocolate. Pets cannot metabolize theobromine properly, so ingestion can lead to a variety of symptoms. Some of the things to watch for include panting, vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea, increased thirst, excessive urination, and a racing heart rate.

Dark, bitter chocolate is the most dangerous, since it contains the highest amount of cocoa. Baker’s chocolate and unsweetened chocolate are more dangerous than milk chocolate.

It’s also important to realize that chocolate sweets also often contain a lot of fat and sugar. These are also unhealthful for pets, and can even cause pancreatitis in severe cases. Ask your Hudson Valley, NY veterinarian for more information. 

Don’t Burn Candles Within Paws’ Reach

Did you know that our furry friends start more than a thousand fires every year? Pets and fire are always a dangerous combination. It’s unfortunately very easy for Fluffy to accidentally stick her tail into a candle flame. Fido can actually knock one over with his!

Only burn candles in high, secure spots. We also recommend using thick candle holders for added security. You can also use flameless candles. These provide that romantic mood lighting, but are much safer.

Don’t Give Pets Unsafe Foods

Many people celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic candlelit dinner, which often includes a bottle of wine. Your furry pal may want to share. You can also give Fido and Fluffy something special. Just be careful. Several popular foods that are poisonous to our furry friends include avocados, raw dough, yeast, meat on the bone, garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, and anything that contains xylitol, salt, sugar, or fat. Ask your Hudson Valley, NY vet for more information.

General Precautions For Pets

Because toxins are such a concern with Valentine’s Day, we also want all of our customers to be aware of the signs of poisoning in pets. These include vomiting, drooling, pale gums, diarrhea, collapse, excessive urination, dark stools, swelling, increased thirst, lethargy, inability to urinate, trembling, and restlessness.

If you see any of these signs, call us at 845-420-7888. You can also contact the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 right away. (Charges may apply.)

We also recommend keeping pet first-aid kits on hand. These kits may include items that would be used in a poisoning situation, such as peroxide or activated charcoal. However, these items should only be used as directed by your veterinarian. 

Keep Hard Candies Away From Pets

Candies may seem harmless, but pet owners should be aware of a few things. The wrappers can pose a choking hazard, and if swallowed, can cause intestinal blockage.

In addition, many sweets contain ingredients that are dangerous for pets, such as xylitol (also called birch sugar), which is toxic to both dogs and cats. The high fat and sugar content of chocolate is also not healthy for Fido and Fluffy. Keep these treats away from them.

Display Cards In Safe Places

Is your dog a heavy chewer? If so, be cautious with cards. The paper itself isn’t a big deal. However, cards that play music or light up contain small batteries, which you definitely don’t want your pet to ingest. Many cards are also decorated with things like glitter, paint, and dye, which aren’t safe for Fido and Fluffy.

Don’t Give Fido And Fluffy Wine

Do your Valentine’s Day plans include a candlelit dinner? A bottle of wine is often part of these special meals. Don’t share your drinks! Alcohol is very dangerous to your four-legged pal. Even consuming small amounts can make pets very sick.

Some of the warning signs to watch for here include drooling, vomiting, weakness, collapse, depression, lethargy, lack of coordination and trouble breathing. More serious consequences include seizures, respiratory failure, and, if enough is consumed, death.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t let your furry pal enjoy something special. You can get Fido a chew toy shaped like a wine bottle. Fluffy can even enjoy her own catnip wine.

Share The Love

Well, we’ve gotten the dangerous parts out of the way, so now it’s time for some fun stuff. How about including your pets in your Valentine’s Day celebration? Pet product companies are creating a whole slew of adorable accessories to celebrate. There are lots of cute heart-themed doggy jackets and blankets to choose from for Fido. Fluffy might enjoy batting at a catnip heart, while Fido could look cute posing in a rose petals circle forming a heart.

Conclusion: By following some basic Valentine’s Day safety tips, you can enjoy the sweet lovers’ holiday without compromising your pet’s well-being. Be aware of potential dangers, such as chocolate, candies, candles, and small toys.

Feel free to contact us, your Hudson Valley, NY pet hospital, if you have any questions about your pet’s health or care.