Valentine's Day Warning for Pets

Use these Valentine's Day pet safety tips to avoid gifts that can be harmful to animals.

Posted: January 27, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, sweethearts begin to search far and wide for that perfect gift to give to loved ones. But some traditional Valentine’s Day gift ideas should come with a warning for pets.

Here are some Valentine’s Day pet safety tips from animal
welfare organizations:
 
While flowers are always a favorite on Valentine’s Day, pet owners are urged to take caution with roses or any other flowers containing thorns, which could be potentially harmful to pets if played with, bitten, stepped on or swallowed.

“It’s all too easy for pets to step on thorny stems that fall to the ground as a flower arrangement is being created,” said Louise Murray, director of medicine for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Bergh Memorial Hospital.

“Be sure to keep your pets clear of your workspace as you arrange your beautiful flowers, since they can develop serious infections from thorn punctures. Also, many varieties of lilies are highly toxic to cats, so if these are your Valentine’s flower of choice, make sure your cats can’t get near them,” Murray said.
 
Chocolate is also a popular gift around this time of year. But this treat is one that could make pets ill. Chocolates may contain fat and caffeine-like substances known as methylxanthines that potentially can cause illnesses, such as vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death in severe cases.
 
Another potential hazard is gum or candy sweetened with the sugar substitute xylitol. This can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (known as hypoglycemia), resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

If you suspect your cat or dog might have eaten products containing any of these ingredients, the ASPCA recommends veterinary treatment immediately. As a general rule, the ASPCA advises that pet owners avoid offering their animals food meant for human consumption without first speaking with their local veterinarian.

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Reader Comments

Walt    Ludowici, GA

1/23/2012 5:18:37 AM

old news but worth repeating

Nikki    Lawrence, KS

1/27/2007 5:58:00 PM

Keep things that are harmful to pets out of their reach.

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