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Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tips 
February 1, 2024

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! As the lovers’ holiday approaches, the stores are already filled with romantic trappings, including candies, chocolates, roses, and stuffed animals. You may even find some cute things for your pet! Just be careful: like any other holiday, this one does have some concerns pet owners should be aware of. Read on as a local Bellevue, WA vet provides some tips to ensure your pet stays safe and sound over the holiday season. Many of Cupid’s accessories are dangerous to pets!

Keep Chocolate Out Of Paws’ Reach

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods for pets. In fact, it is toxic to pretty much all our animal companions, with the exception of rats and mice.  it can be fatal at just one pound per ounce of your pet’s body weight.

A substance called theobromine is the issue here. Theobromine is similar to caffeine, which is also in chocolate. Because pets cannot properly digest theobromine, ingestion can lead to a variety of symptoms, and can even be fatal.

Keep a close eye out for signs of ingestion. Some of these include:

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

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

Not all types of chocolate are the same here. Dark, bitter chocolate is more dangerous than other types, because it contains the highest levels of cocoa. Baker’s chocolate and unsweetened chocolate are therefore more dangerous than milk chocolate. However, even just a little bit of chocolate can be dangerous.

It’s also worth noting that sweet foods often contain a lot of fat and sugar, which can also make pets sick. In severe cases, they can even cause pancreatitis. Ask your Bellevue, WA veterinarian for more information.

Keep Bouquets In High Spots

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with flowers. While one might not expect that pretty bouquet to pose a risk to your furry friend, there are some safety concerns.

The classic Valentine’s Day flower, the rose, isn’t poisonous, but it can cause cuts to pets’ mouths, and, if ingested, can cause internal damage.  Lilies, however, are extremely toxic. These are one of the most deadly plants for cats. Just nibbling on a leaf or drinking some water can cause Fluffy to go into organ failure!

Other popular flowers that are toxic to pets include:

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

ASPCA offers a complete list of safe and unsafe plants here.

Aside from toxicity, you’ll also want to be cautious about any flowers that have been treated with pesticides. Those that have glitter or small ornaments—such as a small plastic heart or a cute little Cupid—are also dangerous. Additionally, playful pets could choke on the leaves or stems.

Be Cautious With Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals are another popular holiday gift. Fido is probably more at risk here than cats: Fluffy is likely to curl up with that cute teddy bear for a nap than try to eat 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. Your canine pal may also be at risk if he ingests stuffing or a squeaker. Some pups remove these with almost surgical precision, which is cute but dangerous: this is not something you want your pet eating.

You’ll need to be extra careful with anything that includes a battery.

Keep Hard Candies In Covered Bowls

Many smaller candies are hard enough to choke pets. Their wrappers could also cause choking and/or intestinal blockages. Additionally, some ingredients in these sweets, such as Xylitol—sometimes labeled as birch sugar—or chocolate, can be toxic to our furry friends.  keep these treats out of reach to ensure the safety of our pets.

Don’t Let Fido Eat Cards

Does your pooch chew anything and everything in sight? Be careful with cards as well. Paper and cardboard aren’t dangerous in and of themselves; the concern is more with cards that play music or light up. These have small batteries, which your pet definitely shouldn’t be eating.

Keep Alcohol Away From Pets

Many couples celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic candlelit dinner and a bottle of wine. Don’t let your furry pal imbibe! Ingestion of even small amounts can cause your pet’s blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature to drop. 

Some common signs to look out for include the following:

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

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your Bellevue, WA veterinary clinic immediately.

That doesn’t mean you can’t let your four-legged friend have some fun. You can get Fido a wine bottle-shaped chew toy. As for Fluffy, you can even order her some catnip wine.

Be Careful With Candles

Want to add some mood lighting? Be careful with candles! Fire and pets is never a good mix. In fact, pets start over a thousand fires every year! Fluffy can easily stick her tail into a candle flame. Fido can knock one over with his.

Candles should always be placed in high, secure spots, preferably inside thick candle holders.  Better yet, choose flameless candles. These offer pretty lighting without the risk.

Only Offer Safe Treats

Many people give their pets special foods on holidays. Fido and Fluffy can certainly have something yummy. Just stick with safe foods. Many popular foods can be toxic to pets. 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. Ask your vet for more information. 

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
  • Collapse
  • Lethargy
  • Inability To Urinate
  • Trembling
  • Restlessness

We can be reached at 425-641-1170. You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline  at 855-764-7661 immediately if you see any of these signs. (Charges may apply.)

We also advise keeping a pet first-aid kit on hand, just as a general precaution. This might 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 do so by your veterinarian or a poison hotline worker.

Have Fun With It

Well, now that the serious part is out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff. Pet product companies are making a slew of adorable accessories, including plenty of charming Valentine’s Day themed ones. These can make for some cute photos! Fluffy may enjoy batting at a catnip heart, while Fido may look adorable posing in a heart-shaped ring of flower petals. You can also get a cute themed jacket or blanket for your dog pal that makes him feel comfortable.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Contact us, your Bellevue, WA  local pet hospital, if you have questions about your pet’s health or care. We are dedicated to providing great care!