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Valentine’s Day Do’s and Don’ts for Pet Parents

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Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, a beautiful bouquet of lilies, and candlelit dinners may sound like a romantic Valentine’s Day evening at home…but maybe not if you’re a pet parent. From chocolate or lily toxicity to a burnt tail, the evening sounds more like a trip to the ER waiting to happen! So on this day of love, we encourage you to show your Valentine just how much you care about them and their pet! Avoid common Valentine’s Day pet dangers and instead, make thoughtful, pet-friendly decisions.

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Flowers     

  • DON’T purchase a bouquet of flowers that are toxic to your Valentine’s pets. For example, lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause life-threatening kidney failure. Other common flowers that are toxic to pets include tulips, ranunculus, chrysanthemums, gardenias, amaryllis, and carnations. 
  • DON’T send roses either. While roses are non-toxic, their thorns often cause injuries to a curious pet’s mouth and paws.
  • DO purchase pet-friendly flowers such as gerbera daisies, petunias, sunflowers, moth orchids, and African violets.
  • DO double-check that a flower or plant is pet-friendly by using the ASPCA Plant Guide or Plant Snap.   

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Edible Gifts 

  • DON’T get your Valentine chocolate – especially if their pet is known for getting into food. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more harmful it can be. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate are the most dangerous. Be sure to steer clear of chocolate-covered raisins, coffee beans, or macadamia nuts, because within these treats are bonus levels of toxicities!
  • DON’T purchase candy or baked goods that contain xylitolThis sugarless sweetener is very toxic to dogs and can cause a drop in blood sugar, as well as liver failure.
  • DO get a treat for your Valentine’s pet such as a gourmet treat or cupcake that is specifically made for pets. It’s never a bad idea to spoil your Valentine’s pet!
  • DO opt for a human food or dessert that isn’t toxic to your Valentine’s pet such as berries and plain, vanilla yogurt.
  • DO tell your Valentine if their gift is edible so they can keep it out of their pet’s reachEven if the food isn’t toxic, pets that eat sugary, fatty foods are at an increased risk of pancreatitis and obesity. 

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Alcoholic Beverages 

  • DON’T leave alcoholic beverages unattended. It only takes a small amount of alcohol to make a pet sick. Keep in mind that in addition to alcohol poisoning, wine can also cause grape poisoning.
  • DO put pets in a separate room if there is a spill. Promptly clean up the spill before allowing the pets back into the room.

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Dental Hygiene Products

  • DON’T bring along dental hygiene products that contain xylitol such as gum, mints, or even toothpaste and mouthwash. If you typically keep some in your purse, bag, or pockets – remove these items! Again, xylitol products are very toxic to dogs.
  • Planning to stay overnight or need to freshen your breath? Then DO read the ingredients and choose dental hygiene products that don’t contain xylitol. 

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Candles 

  • DON’T use openflamed candles for dinner or to fill a room. A wagging tail, curious paws, or whiskers can easily get burned or start a fire.
  • DO keep pets out of the room if you do choose to use any open-flamed candles. Promptly extinguish the candles while unattended.
  • DO use battery-operated candles that don’t have a real flame, especially if it’s not an option to keep pets in a separate room. 

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Stuffed Animals 

  • DON’T give your Valentine a stuffed animal with plastic eyes or a plastic nose if their pet is a chewer. Also, avoid stuffed animals that have little accessories or sequins. These objects can be easily removed and cause a choking hazard to pets.
  • DO get your Valentine’s pet a pet-specific plush toyWhy? Well, why not?   

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Gift Wrap and Ribbons 

  • DON’T wrap your Valentine’s gift with any string or ribbon. Pets, especially cats, may swallow the long material, which can get stuck in the throat or digestive tract. This will require emergency surgery to remove.
  • DO promptly throw away any gift wrap or bows to avoid any potential dangers. 

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We hope this guide helps keep your pets and your Valentine’s pets safe! If either of your pets experience an emergency this Valentine’s Day and your family veterinarian is unavailable, remember that both our St. Paul and Oakdale facilities are open 24/7 for curbside emergency care. Please call ahead so our team knows to expect you!     

 


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