Monthly Archives: February 2013

Valentine’s Day Dangers for Your Pets

With Valentine’s Day drawing near, there will be temptations all around  – for both humans and our pets!   Below are a few of the common Valentine’s Day toxins.

1.  Roses

Although roses don’t often cause serious poisoning beyond gastrointestinal upset, there’s risk for trauma to the mouth and paws from the thorns. Additionally, if a large enough portion of the rose head or stem is ingested, a bowel obstruction may result.


2.  Lilies

Lilies are frequently sold in fresh boquets; the most common bouquet lilies include the Stargazer lily, Tiger lily, and other Asiatic lilies.  These lilies are extremely toxic to cats and can cause acute kidney failure.  The ingestion of just one to two leaves or petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure.


3.  Chocolate and Cocoa

Probably the most classic Valentine’s Day treat, chocolate can be toxic to pets. Chocolate and cocoa contain Theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that is highly toxic to dogs and cats.  When it comes to chocolate,  the darker or more concentrated the chocolate, the more Theobromine it contains.  Therefore, the most dangerous chocolates are baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and gourmet dark chocolates.  Don’t forget about milk chocolate:  it can also be toxic if large enough amounts are ingested   Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate.


4.  Gift Wrapping Ribbons and Accessories.

We want the gift we give our special someone to look spectacular.  We adorn the package with curly ribbons, a tag or a bow for that extra special touch.  After the gift has been opened, be sure to dispose of any and all wrappings properly.  Kitty may like playing with these items when you are done with them, but unsupervised play can lead to a trip to the veterinarian!   An item such as curling ribbon can cause a foreign body in the stomach or intestine, which may require surgical intervention.


These are just a few of the many known toxins to pets.  Other items include raisins, Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in gum), Macadamia nuts, espresso beans, grapes, and avocados.  To keep your home safe for your pets, keep medications out of reach, remove lilies from your home and place things like chocolate and gum inside a cabinet rather than in a candy dish.  Prevention is key!