Valentine’s Day & Pets Can be a Bad Mix

I bet from the headline you thought I was going to say don’t give a puppy or a kitten as a gift for Valentine’s Day. While that’s sound advice, this column is really about how common Valentine’s Day gifts or activities can be dangerous for dogs or cats.

Chocolate
Who doesn’t like chocolate on Valentine’s Day? But don’t share chocolates with your dog! All kinds of chocolates are dangerous for dogs. The darker the chocolate or the greater the quantity, the more dangerous it is. Chocolate can cause pancreatitis in dogs, a painful abdominal condition with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

Xylitol
Staying on the topic of sweets, a number of sugar-free candies and baked goods now contain xylitol as a sugar substitute. This ingredient can lead to liver failure in dogs.

Roses
A beautiful bouquet of roses is almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but keep them up high and away from a curious dog or cat. Eating roses can cause constipation and an upset stomach, and thorns can cause injuries to the mouth or paws.

Gift Wrapping
An artfully wrapped gift is always a pleasure to receive, but after you open it be mindful of what you do with the ribbons and wrapping paper, especially metallic wrapping paper. Curious dogs or cats that ingest gift wrapping risk having blockages in the intestines.

Candles
Turning down the lights and basking in the glow of lit candles can be very romantic, but be cautious about where you put them. Tails, noses and whiskers run the risk of getting singed, or in a worse case scenario, accidentally tipping over the candles could start a fire.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these substances, please contact your veterinarian.

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