While Valentine’s Day can be filled with yummy treats, chocolates, candies, and beautiful flowers, these items can pose serious health risks to our furry and feathered friends.
Chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs, cats, and birds. The darker the chocolate, the more danger it poses. As little as 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or gourmet dark chocolate can cause toxic effects in a mid-sized dog or cat. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and restlessness. In severe cases, seizures and heart failure can occur.
Xylitol. Xylitol (also referred to as wood sugar, birch sugar, and birch bark extract) is gaining popularity as a sweetener in many candies, sugar-free gum, and baked goods. While xylitol is completely safe for human consumption, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death. Signs of xylitol poisoning develop within 15 minutes of xylitol ingestion, and may include vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, tremors, seizures, and coma. The most recent information shows that xylitol is not known to be toxic to cats, but since it’s always better safe than sorry, keep all treats away from cats and dogs!
Plants. Some plants can be toxic to your pet. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, causing kidney failure, so be sure to keep lilies out of special Valentine’s Day arrangements in your home. Luckily roses, everyone’s favorite Valentine’s bouquet, are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and birds!
Cellophane. Even the crinkly cellophane that your plants or flowers come wrapped in can pose a threat to your pets. The crinkly sound may be appealing to a cat or young puppy as a play toy, but if ingested, it can become lodged in your pet’s digestive system. Be sure to dispose of the wrapping (and ribbon—don’t forget to get rid of the ribbon!) properly and don’t leave cellophane or foil wrapping on plants you may receive.
This Valentine’s Day, keep all candies, chocolates, baked goods, flowers, and plants out of reach and away from curious pets. If you suspect that your pet has eaten a toxic product, contact your veterinarian right away. Your pet has a better chance of recovery if treated early.