10 Ways Your Valentine's Day Celebration Might Harm Your Pet
For an unfortunate few Valentine's Day brings to mind racing their beloved pet to vet's office, shelling out thousands of dollars for life-saving treatments and, in some cases, saying goodbye to their cat or dog.
Prevent this from happen to the pets and people you love by learning top 10 Valentine's Day dangers for your four-footed pals.
And remember the words of veterinarian Taylor Truitt, CEO and founder of The Vet Set, New York – if you even suspect your pet has encountered one of these hazards – “Scoop up your pet as quickly as possible and go to the veterinarian.”
Flowers – Especially Lilies
Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily and all the other types of this beautiful, fragrant flowere are highly toxic to dogs and cats that eat any part of them, said veterinarian Jeff Levy of New York. Of course there are other potentially dangerous flowers, including daffodils (drooling, nausea, increased heart rates and more for dogs and cats) and azaleas (same symptoms, plus potential blindness, seizure and coma). Even roses – more correctly the plastic wrap and ribbons in which they're often encased – can wreak havoc, wrapping around the base of a cat's tongue, causing intestinal obstructions and more. Keep ribbons, strings, plastic and similar enticements away from animals.
Cats and dogs can become entangled in the handles of a bag and choke to death. This is a risk for cats especially, who sometimes crawl into bags and then become scared by the sound and try to rush out. If you plan to leave gift bags where pets can find them, remove the handles.
Chocolate and Caffeine
Many know that chocolate is especially toxic to dogs. If they ingest it, induce vomiting immediately. Remember that chocolate doesn't just mean candies in a box – it means chocolate chip cookies, brownies and other treats. Author Kelly Meister-Yetter, Crazy Critter Lady and No Better Medicine, cautions to also keep chocolate-covered espresso beans, coffee beans, coffee grounds tea bags and diet pills out of reach of pets as well. “They can easily cause death in cats and small dogs,” she says.
Alcohol comsumption can lead to ethanol poisoning for dogs and cats. “Alcohol effects pets's livers just as it does in humans, but it can do a lot more damage and quickly with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and even death,” said Denise Petryk, DVM, Seattle. If the dog is a very small breed, the effects are increased dramatically. Make sure all bottles, cans, and glasses are kept out of pets's reach and put away quickly after consumption.
Flickering candlelight is lovely until the whiskers of your dog or cat get singed. Think cats or dogs racing around on fire is only something you see in movies? “Don't laugh,” said Dr. Taylor. “I've seen that.” Avoid candles or use flameless ones.
Marijuana may be legal in some states but that doesn't mean it's healthy for pets. In fact it's highly toxic to dogs and cats. Even blowing smoke in a pet's face can cause health problems and sometimes death. If you use marijuana, keep it away from dogs and cats.
This sugar substitute is found in sugar-free gum, baked goods, and breath mints. It can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, as well as liver failure, in dogs, said Meister-Yetter. Cats are even more sensitive to Xylitol, which can be fatal to them. Keep goodies containing Xylitol way out of reach.
Those that are not made for pets may contain small parts including buttons and eyes that can be harmful if swallowed, warns Dr. Petryk. Make sure you are careful to only give your pet toys that are approved for their use. The same goes for pet outfits, that look adorable but may have chin straps that can choke or other hazardous accents, said Dr. Truitt.
“A hyper puppy (or determined adult dog or cat) can easily knock over a trash can and spread garbage and bacteria throughout your home,” said Laura Roach, director of training at Camp Bow Wow in Broomfield, Colorado. Pets can choke on hazardous items, so be sure to properly dispose of all candy wrappers and keep the trash out of your pets reach.
Even if you love dogs, cats and other pets, don't give one as an unexpected gift. After the initial excitement of the gift passes, many new owners abandon the pets, said Greening Your Pet Ownership author Darcy Matheson.