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Valentine’s Day Dangers for Pets

Posted February 11, 2015 @ 10:00am | by Janine Barnes, AERC Marketing Assistant

A bouquet of lilies, a big box of chocolates, and a beautifully wrapped present may be thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts for your sweetheart, but they are dangerous to your furry Valentines. Here are pet dangers to be aware of this Valentine’s Day:

1. Lilies
Lilies are extremely toxic to your cat. If your Valentine has a cat at home, skip the Stargazer, Easter, or Tiger lilies or the Tiger lilies and get a pet-friendly bouquet instead. Ingesting any part of a lily (from the water to the leaves and petals) can cause kidney failure in cats, which can be fatal. Dogs don’t develop kidney failure from lilies, but they could have upset stomachs.

Signs: Drooling, vomiting, lethargy, reduced appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, severe kidney failure.

2. Roses
Roses are not as poisonous as lilies but can still be dangerous. Tummy upset and inability to pass stool are the most severe issues to look for if you think your pet has eaten a bouquet of a dozen roses. Another issue is the thorns–injuries to the mouth and paws are a risk.

Signs: Drooling, pawing at mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, reduced appetite.

3. Chocolate
Chocolate bars, chocolate candies, chocolate covered raisins, chocolate covered espresso beans, and chocolate covered macadamia nuts are all dangerous. Most people know by now that chocolate is very dangerous to dogs. The darker and more bitter the chocolate and the more of it your pet eats, the more harmful it can be. Pets should not be eating human food especially high in sugar and fat due to the risk of pancreatitis. Chocolate covered raisins can cause kidney failure because raisins are also toxic to dogs. Macadamia nuts are also very poisonous to dogs. It’s best to call your veterinarian right away and tell him/her the type of chocolate, how much was eaten, and your dog’s current weight.

Signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, increased urination, elevated heart rate, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, collapsing.

4. Xylitol
Sugar-free gum, candy, baked goods, and breath mints can contain xylitol. This sugar substitute can be life-threatening to dogs. It can cause a drop in blood sugar as well as liver failure.

Symptoms: Low blood sugar, vomiting, acting “drunk”, weakness, collapsing, seizures, liver failure.

5. Cocktails
For those sharing a bottle of wine in front of the fireplace, make sure your pet doesn’t get any to drink. Your pets might try to lick up spilt wine or stick their tongues in a glass. Alcohol is dangerous to animals since they are smaller than humans and not meant to consume alcohol.

Signs: Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances, coma, fatal respiratory failure.

6. Candlelight
If you plan on lighting candles, make sure you keep your pet out of that room or out of reach of any flames. A wagging tail, or curious paws or whiskers could get burned or start a fire.

Signs: Fire, burnt paws, limping, pads darker color than usual, blisters or redness on pads.

7. Gift wrapping
After opening presents, throw away all ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, etc… Your pet might decide to ingest a long strand of ribbon. This could get stuck in your pet’s throat or digestive track.

Signs: Vomiting, choking


We hope you, your Valentine, and your furry Valentines have a safe Valentine’s Day. But if your pet does have an emergency, remember both our St. Paul and Oakdale locations are open 24/7, every day of the year.

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