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Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tips

cat paw touching a felt valentine's day heart

Fact checked by a Hello Ralphie expert veterinarian

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the Hello Ralphie team is here to remind you that not all matches were made by cupid! While you are enjoying your holiday goodies this year embraced with the warm cuddles of your favorite furr-entine, here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure a paws-itive celebration. Three tips for Valentine’s Day pet safety:

Need to see a vet? Try a Hello Ralphie virtual veterinarian appointment

Valentine's Day Pet Safety Tip #1

Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

dog begging for a valentine's day cookie

Although good for our heart and soul, chocolate and dogs can be a dangerous combo! Chocolate contains both caffeine and a compound called theobromine.

When ingested, it can cause serious side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, panting, difficulty walking, abnormal heart beats, and seizures. How sick your dog will get depends on the type of chocolate, amount eaten, and size of your dog. The darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of theobromine present and potentially the greater the risk for toxicity. 

Read more about the danger of chocolate for dogs here

VIRTUAL VET TIP:  Avoid giving dogs any amount of chocolate. For a sweet, gooey (and healthy) alternative, consider a small piece of banana.

Valentine's Day Pet Safety Tip #2

Are lilies toxic to cats?

cat trying to sniff a lily flower

Do you and your valentine love flowers and cats? Then make certain your bouquets this year do not contain any lilies. Tiger, asiaic, day, and easter lily varieties can be fatal to cats- ingesting just a bite or two of the leaves or pollen can cause rapid kidney failure.

While other varieties of lilies such as peace lilies and calla lilies tend to be less toxic, they can still cause illness. Signs of lily poisoning can include vomiting, lethargy, excessive thirst, and changes in urination (too much or not at all). In general, it is best to avoid all lilies in a household with kitties.

VIRTUAL VET TIP: Do your cats love to munch on greenery? Consider planting them a pot of organic cat grass as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Valentine’s Day Pet Safety Tip #3

Is artificial sweetener bad for dogs?

senior dog licking a heart-shaped lollipop

From little hearts with cute messages to delicious gummies, sugar-free candy options allow us to indulge without the guilt! However, many of these treats contain xylitol, and while in general is safe to people, can be poisonous to dogs.

Xylitol can cause your dog’s blood sugar to rapidly decrease to a dangerous level, causing liver failure, seizures, and sometimes death. While your pooch might have a sweet tooth, it is best to avoid giving candies to dogs.

VIRTUAL VET TIP: If your dog craves something sweet and crunchy, consider bite-sized pieces of apple or sweet potato as a safe alternative.

If you’re looking for healthy, fun treats for your furry valentine, try our list of veterinarian-approved fruit and veggie snacks!

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Pet

So, what should you do if your dog eats chocolate or sugar-free candy? Or if your cat licks a lily? Given the potential danger of such exposures, you should speak with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Our Hello Ralphie veterinarians are available for chat to offer you specific advice. Having the following information available can help us best help you:

  • Approximate weight of your pet
  • Name of substance ingested
  • Amount of substance ingested
  • Approximate time of ingestion

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your pets? Feel free to download and print one of our Valentine’s Day cards to give to your loved ones or tag Hello Ralphie on Instagram.

We wuf you,

The Hello Ralphie Team

Download and Print Your Own Pet Valentine

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