Feb 02 2017

Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s Day


Each year our poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14th, many involving chocolates and lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. So please don’t leave the goodies lying around on Lover’s Day.

Pet-Safe Bouquets – Many pet owners are still unaware that all species of lilies are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contains no lilies if the recipient has a cat and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant.

Forbidden Chocolate – Seasoned pet lovers know the potentially life-threatening dangers of chocolate, including baker’s, semi-sweet, milk and dark. In darker chocolates, methylxanthines, caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac functions can cause vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave the chocolate out for chow hounds to find.

Careful with Cocktails – Spilled wine, half a glass of champagne, some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up.
Because animals are often smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, cause vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremor, difficult breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large enough amount is ingested.

Life is Sweet – So don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar know as hypoglycemia. This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny stemmed flowers. Bitting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs.

Playing With Fire – It’s nice to set your evening a-glow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.

Wrap It Up – Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened. If swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.

The Furry Gift Of Life? – Giving a cuddly puppy or kitten may seem a fitting Valentine’s Day gift; however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on is anything but romantic. Companion animals bring with them a lifelong commitment, and choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right. Let your loved one choose their own pet with a gift certificate to adopt from a rescue organization or take a romantic trip to the shelter together.

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