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Valentine’s Day: Keeping Pets Safe 
February 10, 2009, Volume 55, No. 21

Valentine’s Day is almost here and sweethearts are looking for that perfect gift for loved ones. But Penn Vet recommends these precautions to ensure that your pets stay safe and healthy.

Don’t Let Your Pets Eat Chocolate! Chocolate is one of the most popular gifts this time of year but is potentially lethal to pets. Dogs can experience vomiting or diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate from eating chocolate. Cats can experience gastrointestinal upset if they ingest chocolate. In severe cases, animals can die from eating even a small amount of chocolate.

Put Alcoholic Beverages Safely Away! Be sure alcoholic beverages are not in reach of your pet. If your pet ingests alcohol, this could cause vomiting or diarrhea, 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 consumed.

Don’t Let Your Pets Eat Sugar Substitutes! Another potential hazard is gum or candy sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which, if ingested, can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar. This can result in depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Keep Flowers Out of Reach! Flowers are another favorite choice to celebrate this special day. Many types of lilies are highly toxic to cats, so make sure they are completely out of cats’ reach. Other potentially poisonous flowers may include tulips, amaryllis, calla lily, daisies, chrysanthemums and baby’s breath. Safer alternatives include African violet, asters, camellia, jasmine and orchids.

Keep Pets Away from Thorns! The thorns on roses can be potentially harmful to pets if played with, bitten, stepped on or swallowed. Be sure to keep your pets clear of a workspace area for arranging roses. They can develop serious infections from thorn punctures or become ill from ingesting poisonous varieties. Be sure to keep roses out of reach of animals.

Don’t Leave Candles Burning! Don’t leave the room while candles are still burning. Curious paws and beaks may decide that a burning candle is a new toy.

Clean Up after Wrapping Presents! Balloons, cellophane, tape, ribbons, bows and other wrapping items should be kept out of a pet’s reach. These items pose choking hazards, and if ingested, can be hazardous to your pet’s health.


Almanac - February 10, 2009, Volume 55, No. 21