The Valentine's Day treats that could harm your pets

Nadine Carroll
·4-min read

Valentine’s Day is a time for indulgence with chocolates and flowers among the most popular gifts on February 14, however some presents can be harmful to pets and the most romantic day of the year could end in an emergency visit to the vet if you aren’t careful.

There are potential hazards around on Valentine’s Day that pet owners need to be mindful of when it comes to curious cats and dogs that will devour any food in sight.

Keep sweet treats away from dogs

Most pet owners are aware chocolate can be toxic if ingested by dogs but Dr Magda West from Vets on Call cautions that other lollies can be harmful for pets too.

A dog eating chocolates on Valentine's Day
It's not just chocolate that can be toxic to dogs, other lollies can cause severe health issues. Source: Getty

“Sugar-free lollies, cakes, ice-cream, and chewing gum, in particular, can often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to pets,” Dr West told Yahoo News Australia.

The vet explained that while xylitol is safe for humans to consume, if ingested by dogs it acts as a strong stimulator of insulin release causing health issues and in some cases, large amounts of xylitol have resulted in death.

“Ingesting large amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and even liver failure,” Dr West cautioned.

Dr Magda Wes from Vets On Call
Dr Magda Wes from Vets On Call has warned pet owners to be extra careful around popular Valentine's Day presents that could hurt your furry family. Source: Supplied

If you suspect that your pet has ingested any amount of Valentine’s Day sweets, Dr West suggests calling your veterinarian immediately.

Flowers are not your pet’s best friend

Nothing says romance quite like a bouquet of flowers but for your curious cat, some varieties can cause serious health issues.

Lilies are especially harmful to cats and can cause serious health problems such as kidney failure or even death,” Dr West explained.

A cat eating lillies
Lillies can cause serious health problems such as kidney failure or even death if your curious cat ingests one. Source: Getty

The vet also cautions pet owners to be careful of roses or similar thorny stems as they can cause injury or lead to an infection if your pet bites, steps on or tries to eat them.

Unless you witness your mischievous moggy eating a flower or plant it can be difficult to tell if they have, so the vet cautions to be on the lookout for signs your pet may have ingested something dangerous - symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhoea - and call your vet for advice.

Fruit platters are not for pets

While we all love a good cheese and fruit platter on a romantic evening, Dr West suggests leaving grapes off the menu if you have pets as grapes can result in some very uncomfortable abdominal pain for dogs and cats.

a cat trying to eat grapes
Grapes are a big no no for pets as they can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in cats and dogs. Source: Getty

“Grape and raisin toxicity can equal vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, lethargy, and abdominal pain for your furry family,” Dr West said.

And while an upset tummy might seem more uncomfortable than dangerous, the vet warns that if left untreated acute renal failure can progress to severe metabolic abnormalities resulting in death.

Keep candles away from curious cats

If you have decided to light candles to set the mood on February 14, it could lead to disaster if you don’t monitor your pets around them.

Curious cats may get a little too close to flames which can quickly cause burns and excited dogs may knock over lit candles in the rush to get some attention from preoccupied pet owners.

Dr West suggests using a string of lights instead of an open flame to set the ambiance on Valentine’s Day and if you do decide to light a candle or two, always keep an eye on it.

“It's a good idea to keep open flames out of reach of pets and make sure you don’t leave them unattended,” Dr West said.

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