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Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

This Valentine’s Day, Give Your Pets A Whole Lotta Love, But Hold the Chocolate!

ASPCA Provides Pet Safety Tips To Pet Parents

NEW YORK, January 14, 2008—Love and danger bloom in unexpected places. This Valentine’s Day, show the furry object of your affection how much you care by keeping your pet out of harm’s way.

To help pet parents keep their loved ones happy and healthy this Valentine’s Day, the ASPCA offers the following tips:

Reject the chocolate temptress. “Chocolate (baker’s, semi sweet, milk and dark) can be chocolate cakepotentially poisonous to animals,” says Dr. Stephen Hansen, board-certified veterinary toxicologist and Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Ill. Dr. Hansen advises pet parents to watch for symptoms of excessive ingestion of chocolate, including vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Save your teeth and your sweeties.
Gum and candy often contain large amounts of the sweetener xylitol, which can be toxic to pets, especially dogs. Ingestion can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, and results in depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

tulipsTiptoe through the tulips. Pets may be interested in taste testing the beautiful floral arrangement on your coffee table. “Animals are very good at sniffing out things they shouldn’t eat,” says Dr. Hansen. “Pet parents might notice symptoms of stomach upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, if their pet has ingested a particularly offensive plant or flower. Most notably, cat owners should be extremely careful if they have lilies in the house, as these lovely flowers can be deadly.”

lilyMany varieties of lilies are highly toxic to cats, so if these are your Valentine’s flower of choice, make sure your cats can’t get near them.

Other potentially poisonous flowers may include:
- tulips (especially if potted, as the bulbs are the most toxic)
- amaryllis (same as tulips)
- Calla lily (can cause intense oral and gastrointestinal irritation)
- daisies
- chrysanthemums
- baby's breath

Safer alternatives might include:
- African violet
- asters
- camellia
- Canna lilies (they are not of the genus Lilium)
- jasmine
- orchids

Check out the ASPCA toxic plant list to be sure that your choice of flower or plant is a safe one. Much of the information you’ll find there is pertinent for birds, as well as dogs and cats.

roseKeep Your Pets Away from Thorns

Pet owners are urged to take caution with roses and other flowers containing thorns, which could be potentially harmful to pets if played with, bitten, stepped on or swallowed. “It’s all too easy for pets to step on thorny stems that fall to the ground as a flower arrangement is being created,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine for the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. “Be sure to keep your pets clear of your workspace as you arrange your beautiful flowers, since they can develop serious infections from thorn punctures.”

Give the choice of pet parenthood. “It may be very tempting to give your loved one a cuddly new puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day,” explains Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Adoption Center. “However, before you bring home that precious little one, remember that adopting a companion animal is a big decision.” Why not present your loved one with a Gift-A-Pet certificate to adopt from the ASPCA—if you are in the Manhattan area—or your local shelter? Selecting the right pet for your home, and saving a life, ensures a bond that will last a lifetime, a fitting way to remember the patron saint of love. 

kittenThe Right Way to Give Pets as Presents

It may seem very tempting to give your loved one a new puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day. They sure are cute and cuddly! But the ASPCA wants to remind you that bringing a new companion animal into your home is a big decision. Why not present your loved one with a gift certificate to adopt from your local shelter, or take a trip to the shelter together? You might just make another love match.

Put Alcoholic Beverages Safely Away Many a curious pet has explored an alcoholic beverage left in a glass. If ingested, this could cause vomiting, diarrhea, a lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and coma. Alcohol can even cause death from respiratory failure if a large enough amount is ingested. It is important to keep in mind that animals are not only smaller than us, they often metabolize substances differently. This makes pets more susceptible to alcohol in smaller amounts. We advise not allowing pets to have any access to alcoholic beverages or other alcohol-based products.

candlesDon’t Leave Candles Burning

Candlelit dinners are romantic, just don’t leave the room while the flames are still burning. Let curious paws and beaks find other, safer things to play with.

Clean Up After Wrapping and Decorating

Make sure to keep balloons, cellophane, tape, ribbons, bows and other wrapping items or festive decorations out of your pets’ reach. Choking on any of these items, or ingesting them, may prove hazardous to your pet’s health.

Valentine's Day Index

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