Top Valentine’s Day Safety Tips For Pets From A Plano, TX Veterinarian

Valentine’s Day is coming up quick! As the lovers’ holiday approaches, the stores are already filling with all sorts of romantic trappings, such as candies, chocolates, roses, and stuffed animals. You may even find some cute things for your pet! Just be careful, as many of Cupid’s accessories are dangerous to our furry friends! Read on as a local Plano, TX vet lists a few tips for ensuring that your beloved pet stays safe and sound over the holiday.

Keep Chocolates Away From Pets

Chocolates are often on the top of the list of most dangerous foods for pets, and with good reason. It’s one of the only things that is toxic to pretty much all of our animal companions, with the exception of rats and mice. In fact, it can be fatal at just one pound per ounce of your pet’s body weight.

The issue here is a substance known as theobromine. Theobromine is much like caffeine, which is also in chocolate. The issue is that pets can’t metabolize theobromine properly. It can cause a variety of symptoms, and can be fatal at just one ounce per pound of a pet’s body weight.

Watch for signs of ingestion. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Panting  
  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased Thirst
  • Excessive Urination
  • Racing Heart Rate

More severe symptoms include muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure. While it’s rare for pets to ingest a fatal dose, it’s definitely possible.

It’s worth noting that not all types of chocolate are equal here. Dark, bitter chocolate is the most dangerous, as it has the highest concentration of cocoa. Bakers’ chocolate and unsweetened chocolate are therefore more dangerous than milk chocolate. However, even something that has just a bit of chocolate is unsafe. 

Plus, these sweet foods often contain a lot of fat and sugar, which can make pets sick in and of themselves. In severe cases, they can even cause pancreatitis. Ask your Plano, TX veterinary clinic for more information.

Be Careful With Flowers

Flowers are a classic part of Valentine’s Day celebrations. One may not expect that pretty bouquet to pose a risk to your four-legged friend, but unfortunately, there are some serious safety concerns here.

The classic Valentine’s Day flower, the rose, is not toxic. However, the thorns can cause cuts to pets’ mouths, and are definitely not safe to ingest. Lilies, however, are extremely toxic. In fact, they are one of the most deadly plants for cats. Fluffy can go into organ failure just by nibbling a leaf or drinking a little of the water.

Some other popular flowers that are toxic to pets include:

  • Tulips
  • Oleander
  • Daffodils
  • Foxglove
  • Lily Of The Valley
  • Hyacinth
  • Cyclamens
  • Irises
  • Hydrangeas

You can find a complete list of safe and unsafe plants on the ASPCA website here. Toxicity isn’t the only concern, though. You’ll also need to be very cautious with any flowers that have been treated with pesticides. Those that have been decorated with glitter or small ornaments—like a small plastic heart or a cute little Cupid—are also unsafe. Plus, playful pets could choke on leaves or stems.

Store Plushies Out Of Paws’ Reach

Stuffed animals are another popular holiday gift. Dogs are more at risk here than cats. Fluffy is probably more likely to curl up with that cute teddy bear for a nap, whereas Fido may be more interested in eating it.

Many stuffed animals have small parts or pieces that present serious choking hazards. Some examples of this include plastic ‘eyes’ or the buttons on a teddy bear’s vest. Aside from that, Fido is at risk if he were to ingest the stuffing or squeaker. Some dogs remove these with almost surgical precision, which is cute but dangerous: this is not something you want your pet eating. Be extra careful with anything that includes a battery! You may also want to get Fido something stronger, preferably something made just for dogs. 

Secure Hard Candies

Candies probably aren’t the most dangerous thing in your house, but there is a hazard for pet owners to be aware of. Many smaller candies are hard enough to choke pets. The wrappers are also choking hazards, and could potentially cause intestinal blockages if swallowed. Aside from that, many of these sweets include things that are not safe for your furry friend. Xylitol—sometimes labeled as birch sugar—is toxic to both Fido and Fluffy. Chocolate, of course, is another risk. All that fat and sugar isn’t exactly good for pets, either.

Put Cards In High Spots

Does your canine buddy chew anything and everything in sight? If so, you’ll want to be careful with cards as well. Paper isn’t a huge risk in and of itself: the concern here is mostly for cards that play music or light up. These contain small batteries, which you definitely do not want your pet eating.

Don’t Let Pets Drink Alcohol

Every holiday has its own associated menus. This lovers’ holiday is no exception. Many couples celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic candlelit dinner, which will often include a bottle of wine.

You can get Fido a chew toy shaped like a wine bottle. Fluffy can even enjoy her own catnip wine. Just don’t share the real stuff with your pet. Alcohol is very dangerous to our four-legged pals! Ingestion of even small amounts can cause your pet’s blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature to drop. More severe consequences include seizures, respiratory failure, and, if enough is consumed, death.

Here are some of the common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Depression  
  • Lethargy
  • Lack Of Coordination
  • Trouble Breathing

Contact your Plano, TX veterinary clinic immediately if you notice any of these issues.

Use Caution With Candles

Fire and pets are always a dangerous mix. In fact, pets start over a thousand fires every year! It’s very easy for Fluffy to accidentally stick her tail into a candle flame. Fido can actually knock one over with his.

Always put candles in high, secure spots. Better yet, use thick candle holders for added security. If you want to add some mood lighting in a spot your pet can reach, opt for flameless candles. These offer that pretty lighting without the associated risk.

Don’t Offer Unsafe Foods

Fido and Fluffy may want to share your dinner with you, but be careful what you offer. Many popular foods are toxic to our furry pals. That list includes meat on the bone, garlic and onions, grapes and raisins, avocado, raw dough or yeast, and anything that contains xylitol and/or a lot of salt, sugar, or fat.

We also want our customers to be aware of the common signs of poisoning in pets. These include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Pale Gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Excessive Urination
  • Dark stools
  • Swelling
  • Increased Thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Inability To Urinate
  • Trembling
  • Restlessness

If you see any of these, you can contact us at (940) 278-0919 or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 immediately. (Charges may apply.)

We also advise keeping a pet first-aid kit on hand. This may include things that would be used in a poisoning situation, such as peroxide or activated charcoal. However, you should only use these if and when directed to by your veterinarian or by a pet poison hotline worker.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day With Pets

Now that we’ve gotten the serious part out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff. Why not include Fido and Fluffy in your Valentine’s Day celebration? Pet product companies are making a whole slew of adorable themed accessories. These can make for some cute photos! Fluffy may enjoy batting at a catnip heart, while Fido might look adorable posing in a heart made of flower petals. You can also get a cute themed jacket or blanket for your canine pal to wear or snuggle up in.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local Plano, TX pet hospital, today!



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