Valentine’s Day Do’s and Don’ts For Pet Owners

Care & Wellness, Cats, Dogs, Emergency Situations

DO Keep Chocolate away from pets!

Just about everyone loves chocolate, especially on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, not everyone feels so good once they eat it. Dogs ingesting chocolate can experience agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia, tremors and/or seizures, depending on the amount of chocolate ingested and size of the dog.

Pet Poison Helpline says pets ingesting milk chocolate, dark chocolate or chocolate baked goods are the top three most common exposures handled by them this time of year. If your pet gets into chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately. Be prepared to tell them the type of chocolate and how much your pet consumed.

DO Purchase safe gifts for your pet!

Why not buy them a new collar, a bag of pet friendly treats, a new bed or a toy? Anyone of these would make a great gift for Valentine’s Day. If your pet is spoiled enough, you might also consider donating to a local shelter or rescue — they always need toys, bedding, food, or cash to help with operations!

DO be careful with ribbons and bows

These come on flowers, candy and balloons. If ingested, they can cause intestinal foreign bodies.

DO look out for artificial sweeteners

Don’t forget Xylitol in sugar-free candies, gums, chocolates and baked goods. While this is a natural sweetener and is not toxic to people, it’s highly toxic to dogs, resulting in rapid onset of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and potentially, liver failure.


DON’T let your pet near lilies!

Flowers are a very common gift for Valentine’s Day. Pet owners should check all bouquets closely for lilies – these include Easter, Stargazer, Tiger, Asiatic and Oriental lilies. These are all deadly to cats and dogs.

For cats and dogs, exposure to lily pollen and water from a vase can result in kidney failure.

DON’T let your pets eat nuts

We know about the toxicity of chocolate with pets but, are you aware of the dangers of Macadamia nuts, coffee beans, grapes and raisins? Grapes and raisin ingestion can lead to kidney failure.

DON’T share the wine

Your pet can also be sensitive to alcohol, so keep your drinks up and out of the way. Also, keep ibuprofen and other pain medications locked up safely in a medicine cabinet.

If your pet ingests ANYTHING on this list, call your veterinarian immediately. Be sure to have the package available of what your pet ingested.

And most important:

DON’T Forget to Shower Your Pet with Love!!!

Your pet will appreciate the gift of time and love more than anything! We have all heard the saying “it’s the little things,” how true this is for your pet. Take your pet for an extra walk, cuddle or play with them a bit longer. This costs nothing but will be more appreciated than any other gift you and give your pet. Added bonus – exercise and cuddles are healthy so you are doing something good for yourself and your pet.

Please Contact us if you have any questions.

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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