Valentine's Day Dangers For Pets

By Dr. Aubrie Smith, Veterinarian

Tips for a safe holiday for loved ones and pets. 


Although dogs have less taste buds than humans, they will still seek out a sweet treat. There are a few reasons chocolate ingestion is bad for animals. First, chocolate contains theobromine (product of the cacao plant) and caffeine. Unfortunately, dogs are sensitive to both these components. Symptoms can include hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death if ingested at a very high dose. Chocolate also has a fair amount of fat within it. A sudden high fatty meal can cause acute inflammation within the pancreas called pancreatitis. This causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in some cases it can be lethal. Spare your pet the stomach upset!


This sugar free sweetener is found in many gums, candies, and even some peanut butters. It can cause life threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), electrolyte abnormalities, and even liver failure if ingested by dogs. Ice Breaker gums contains a particularly high level. 

Candy Wrappers

Unfortunately our pets don’t always waste time opening up the package to get to the tasty treat. Foil and plastic can easily be ingested and lead to gastrointestinal irritation or even blockage. The same applies for gift wrapping. Never encourage your cat to play with gift ribbons as it can lead to ingestion and life threatening, “linear foreign body” obstruction. 


Like humans, dogs and cats are sensitive to alcohol. Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal upset, changes in mentation, and even coma if a large quantity is ingested. Please drink responsibly and make sure your pets stay sober. 


While they may look beautiful in your home, please avoid these lily species in your home. Lilium and Hemerocallis can cause acute kidney failure in cats. This includes Easter lily, Tiger lily, Stargazer lily, and some Daylilies. All parts of the plant are toxic and only a small amount is needed to cause damage (even less than one leaf)!


While these may help set the mood for your romantic holiday, please remember that your pets may not share your knowledge of fire safety. Open flames can easily cause burns to curious animals. Candles can also be accidentally knocked over and cause damage to your home. If you’re cooking for your date and have counter stalking cats, also remember that stove top burners (especially electric tops) can cause very painful toe burns! 

We are here 24 hours a day to help you and your fur baby. If you have concerns that your pet has been exposed to Valentine’s dangers, please contact us or your family veterinarian. Your health care team may recommend contacting the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) or ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) to inquire further about the specific product ingredients and treatment recommendations based on your pet’s weight. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Rocky Gorge!

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