With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and Cupid fluttering around, you may be bringing home candies, flowers or other goodies. Unfortunately, some of these well-intentioned gifts can be toxic for pets. Be careful to keep the following treats away from your furry friends!
- The most common risk from roses can be gastrointestinal upset. Although, if enough roses are ingested, an intestinal blockage or bowl obstruction may occur. Another thing to be careful of is the thorns. They can be harmful to the pet if they step on them or even more harmful if swallowed. A few signs to look for may be vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain or discomfort, drooling, and/or reduced appetite.
- Lilies are frequently sold in fresh bouquets and make a beautiful but deadly alternative to Valentine’s Day roses. Lilles possess a toxin that can be found in the petals, leaves, pollen, or even the water in the vase. These lilies are extremely toxic to cats and can rapidly cause acute kidney failure. If not treated, the exposure will likely result in death. The ingestion of just one to two leaves or petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure. Even ingesting small amounts of pollen from a cat’s fur is considered toxic. Dogs don’t develop kidney failure but may have mild gastrointestinal upset. Within a few hours of exposure, cats may display salivation, vomiting, reduced appetite, and lethargy. Within 18 to 30 hours, severe and dehydration develops. Within 30 to 72 hours cats may even stop producing urine and become gravely ill.
- Chocolate and cocoa
- This classic Valentine’s Day treat can be toxic to your pets. When it comes to chocolate, just remember, “Dark equals dangerous.” The darker or more concentrated the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Therefore, the most dangerous chocolates are baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and gourmet dark chocolates. Also, due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate. Ingestions of chocolate may cause mild vomiting, diarrhea or even tremors, seizures, or collapsing.
- Chocolate covered raisins
- Grapes also fall into this same category of toxins. These fruits cause acute kidney failure in dogs. There’s speculation that they may cause kidney failure in cats and ferrets as well. While not all dogs will develop kidney failure after eating grapes or raisins, it’s impossible to know which pets will be sensitive to these fruits. Therefore, all pets (especially dogs) that ingest grapes or raisins should seek immediate veterinary attention. Side effects can include vomiting, increased urination, increased thirst, lethargy, and reduced appetite.
- Chocolate-covered macadamia nuts
- Macadamia nuts, which are sold commercially and available in most grocery stores, can result in poisoning in dogs if ingested. However, this type of poisoning hasn’t been reported in cats. A few signs to look for are lethargy, vomiting, hind limb weakness, abdominal pain, lameness or joint stiffness.
- Xylitol is a commonly used and naturally occurring sugar substitute. Around Valentine’s Day especially, beware of its use in breath mints, colorful candy or sugar-free cake or muffin mixes. Xylitol is also used in many sugar-free chewing gums, breath mints, candies, and baked goods. It’s also found in some smoking-cessation products like nicotine gum. Xylitol may cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar as well as liver damage in dogs. Within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, dogs may develop hypoglycemia, lose coordination, and start vomiting. Collapse and seizures may quickly follow. In rare cases, these signs won’t appear until several hours after ingestion.
If your pet comes into contact with any of the above, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. If there are any questions that we can answer for you, please give us a call. Happy Valentine’s Day!