We all love getting Valentines, but some of these tokens of affection can be dangerous to pets. Below are the common gifts shared on Valentine’s Day and a few tips to help you avoid a holiday trip to the hospital for your pet:

Valentine's Day flowers

A bouquet of flowers is beautiful, but make sure it doesn’t contain certain plants that are poisonous to pets. Cats love to graze on vegetation, and your Valentine’s Day flowers are no exception.

For example, almost every kind of lily is toxic to cats, including Tiger lilies, Daylilies, Easter lilies, and Stargazer lilies. While a little nibble might only lead to an upset stomach, making a meal of a bunch of lilies could be more serious and can cause acute kidney failure (or worse) if they become an unexpected snack for your best friend.

Other plants toxic to pets include Oleander, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Mums.

If you are sending a bouquet to a pet owner, ask the florist to be mindful of these species and substitute accordingly. And if you are lucky enough to get a bouquet this Valentine’s day, be sure to remove any dangerous flowers before displaying it – especially if it is easily accessible to your feline or canine friends.

Candy and chocolates

There is nothing better than settling down with a big heart-shaped box of chocolates, but beware--chocolate can be dangerous for your pet. Darker chocolates contain methylxanthines, which are similar to caffeine and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and elevated heart rates if ingested. Lighter milk chocolates have higher fat contents and can lead to a serious medical condition called pancreatitis.

Chocolate isn’t the only sweet treat to watch out for this Valentine’s Day. Some candy, especially those that are “sugar-free”, contain xylitol, a popular sugar substitute often found in sugarless gum. While these sugar-free treats can help keep us slim and won’t hurt our teeth like their sugary counterparts, they can be extremely dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol can have an adverse effect on our pet’s livers and drop their blood sugar to dangerous levels, leading to seizures, comas and even death.

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If you’re planning a romantic dinner by candlelight, be particularly careful with how you set the scene. Curious kitties can paw at candles, leading to singed fur or burnt paws, and excited pups may knock candles over, which could really make your night go up in flames. Keep candles safely out of reach of pets, or better yet, just use the dimmer switch!

Gift wrapping

Everyone loves presents, even our pets. But presents wrapped with ribbons can be irresistible to playful cats and dogs. Ribbons that have been ingested can get lodged in the digestive tract and cause obstruction, leading to expensive emergency surgery.

Having a Petplan pet insurance policy can help you avoid any Valentine’s Day hospital bill hangovers, but following these tips will keep the love of your life safe – for this holiday and those to come.

Feb 8, 2011
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