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My Furry Valentine’s: Pet Safety Tips From A Carlisle, ON Veterinarian

February 1, 2024

As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is in the air, and the stores are filling with romantic goodies, such as chocolates, candies, and flowers. Of course, pet parents need to keep an eye out for potential hazards that could put their furry friends at risk. In this guide, a local Carlisle, ON vet shares essential tips to ensure your beloved pets stay safe and sound as Cupid approaches.

General Tips

Holiday or no, it’s important to always be on the lookout for signs that something is wrong. We always want our customers to be aware of the common signs of poisoning in pets. These include the following:

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

Contact your Carlisle, ON pet hospital immediately if you notice any of these things. 

Be Cautious with Flowers

While a bouquet of flowers may seem harmless, some popular Valentine’s Day blooms can be hazardous to your four-legged companions. Roses, though not toxic, can cause cuts or internal injuries with their thorns if swallowed.

Many flowers are more dangerous than that, though. For instance, lilies are highly 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:

  • Lily Of The Valley
  • Tulips
  • Oleander
  • Daffodils
  • 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. Be wary of flowers treated with pesticides or adorned with glitter and small ornaments, as these can pose additional risks.

Keep Any And All Chocolate Well Out of Paws’ Reach

Chocolates may be a sweet indulgence for us, but for our pets, they can spell trouble. The issue here is a substance known as theobromine, which pets can’t metabolize properly. It can cause a variety of symptoms, and can be fatal at just one ounce per pound of a pet’s body weight. (While it’s rare for pets to ingest a fatal dose, it’s definitely possible.)

Watch for signs of ingestion. These include:

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

More serious symptoms include muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure. 

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

Remember, it’s not just about the chocolate – the added fat and sugar can also upset your pet’s stomach or, in extreme cases, lead to pancreatitis. Ask your Carlisle, ON veterinary clinic for more information.

Secure Hard Candies

While candies may not be the most dangerous items on this list, they can still pose risks to your pets. Small, hard candies are choking hazards, and wrappers can also lead to intestinal blockages if swallowed. 

Some sweets contain xylitol, a substance which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Others may contain chocolate, another potential danger. Ensure that all candies are stored securely and away from curious pets.

Keep Cards in High Spots

Does your canine companion chew anything and everything in sight? If your pet has a penchant for gnawing on things, you’ll need to be cautious with cards, especially those that play music or light up. These cards often contain small batteries that can be harmful if ingested. To avoid any mishaps, keep cards in high places or choose cards without electronic components.

Be Careful With Plushies and Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals may seem like harmless gifts, but they can present choking hazards for pets, especially dogs, who may be tempted to chew on them. Watch out for small parts like plastic eyes or buttons, as these could cause choking or intestinal blockages. Avoid anything with batteries, as playful pets might attempt to chew or swallow them. 

Of course, dogs are more at risk here than cats. Fido may be interested in eating a stuffie. Fluffy is probably more likely to curl up with that cute teddy bear for a nap. 

Don’t Give Pets Alcohol

Many of you may be celebrating the romantic holiday with a glass of wine. It’s crucial to keep all alcoholic beverages away from your pets. 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. 

Here are some of the common signs to watch for:

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

More severe consequences include seizures, respiratory failure, and, if enough is consumed, death. Contact your Carlisle, ON veterinary clinic immediately if you notice any of these issues.

Exercise Caution with Candles

Pets and open flames don’t mix well. In fact, pets start over 1000 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 mood lighting without the associated risk.

Say No to Unsafe Foods

While it’s tempting to share your Valentine’s Day feast with your pet, be mindful of what you share. Many popular foods are toxic to Fido and Fluffy. Items like meat on the bone, garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, avocado, raw dough, and excessive salt, sugar, or fat can be harmful to your furry friend. If you want to share food with your pet, stick with safe options, like plain, cooked fish or chicken, with the bones, skin, and fat removed.

Be aware of signs of poisoning, which we listed above, such as vomiting, drooling, lethargy, or difficulty breathing. Contact your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline immediately if you observe any of these symptoms.

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.

Conclusion: As you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, including your pets, remember that a little precaution goes a long way. By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the sweet lovers’ holiday without compromising your furry friend’s well-being. Here’s to a paws-itively wonderful Valentine’s Day with your beloved pets!

Please feel free to contact us, your Carlisle, ON pet hospital, with any questions or concerns abotu your pet’s health or care. As your local pet hospital, we’re here to help! 

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