Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and with it a chance to spoil that special person with gifts, chocolates, flowers, champagne etc. However, spare a thought for the hidden dangers of some of these gifts if they were to end up in the wrong paws, of our pets!
Our pets can be unpredictably exploratory and may be driven to chew on and swallow both edible and not so edible products, especially when they are young. This can pose grave dangers to them.
Certain flowers and plants can cause toxicity in our pets. Especially dangerous are bouquets with Lilly flowers in them. All parts of the Lilly plant (including the water the bouquet is placed in) can be toxic, especially to the kidneys. Roses are not as toxic, but if they are ingested, and can produce mild symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, such as drooling, vomiting, not eating, diarrhoea. However, the thorns can cause a lot of damage if chewed and swallowed.
One of the components of chocolate, theobromine, is not toxic to us humans, but it is to our pets. Common signs of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, panting, tremors and twitching, seizures, an irregular heart rate, breathing difficulties and even death. These can occur within 6-12 hours of eating the chocolate. Not all chocolates contain the same concentration of the toxic compound. Dark chocolates are worse than milk chocolate or white chocolate. For more information on toxic food for pets please read our ‘Christmas Perils for Pets‘
Our pets are very sensitive to certain sweeteners, such as xylitol, especially dogs. So any gum, sweets, cakes, or drinks sweetened with xylitol can cause severe illness and even death. It causes a severe drop in blood sugar level and liver failure. Symptoms include vomiting, weakness, incoordination, depression, tremors, collapsing, seizures and the animal falling into a coma.
Alcohol is not something we offer to share with our pets. However, some pets will try anything if the opportunity arises, such as spilled wine or champagne, or some liquor infused foods. As in humans, the alcohol percentage of the drink and the body weight contribute to how much it will affect our pet. Because most pets are much smaller than us, a small amount can do a lot of harm, ranging from vomiting and diarrhoea, lack of coordination, increased thirst, muscle tremors or central nervous system depression, breathing problems and even coma.
Our more exploratory pets could even indulge on the wrapping paper, ribbons, balloons etc. causing risk of gastrointestinal upset or even a blockage, needing urgent veterinary attention.
And if you have set the scene for a romantic dinner by candlelight, remember to extinguish the candles before retreating from the dinner table, so our inquisitive pets can’t accidentally burn themselves or cause a fire!
The team at Cronulla Veterinary Clinic wishes everyone and their pets a beautiful and safe Valentine’s Day.