Valentine's day is one of the most romantic days of the year, but if you have pets, it can also be a dangerous day for them. Each year, poison control and vet offices see an uptick of cases on February 14th. Here are a few things to watch out for to help your pet stay safe.
One of the most common gifts exchanged on Valentine's Day is chocolates. Chocolates are extremely dangerous to our pets, as it contains a substance called methylxanthine. That substance can cause issues like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rhythms, or possible life threatening issues. Don't leave chocolates out in the open, keep them away from your pet. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, here is a listing of resources you can contact (some charge a fee, some are free): Poison Control Hotlines
Another thing to watch out for are lit candles. Open flames from candles can be knocked over by cats or dogs. When you leave a room with lit candles, blow them out. Don't leave pets unattended in a room with candles burning or fires in the fireplace.
Roses and other flowers make beautiful gifts for your sweetheart. Pets need to be careful around thorny flowers like roses, as the thorns can be bitten, swallowed, or stepped on and lead to a puncture wound and infection. Other plants and flowers, like lilies, are toxic to animals. The ASPCA maintains a toxic plant library here: ASPCA Poisonous Plants Listing. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, here is a listing of resources you can contact (some charge a fee, some are free): Poison Control Hotlines
Gifts wrapped with bows and ribbons are often irresistible to cats, but beware of a pet ingesting ribbons. That can lead to blockages and possible emergency surgery to remove the ribbon.
Alcohol is dangerous for pets. Don't leave your drink unattended, and if you spill some alcohol, clean it up before your pet gets a chance to lap it up. Most pets are smaller than us, so even a small amount of alcohol can lead to fatal respiratory failure.
Beware of sugar free candies that contain xylitol. Xylitol is used as a sweetener, and is dangerous to pets. It can lead to a loss of coordination, seizures, hypoglycemia, and liver failure.
While this list can seem scary, it is important to remember that if you have pets, just pay attention and keep dangerous items away from your pet. Don't leave them unattended in a room with these items. Many things like chocolate, alcohol, and toxic plants aren't exclusive to Valentine's day, these things are found around the house all year long. When you have a pet, you always need to protect them from dangerous household items. For other types of household items to avoid, see this post here.
Have a fun and safe Valentine's day!