Does your heart melt whenever you look into the soft, imploring eyes of the one you love? Does it skip a beat at the sound of your sweetheart's voice as you walk in the door at the end of a long day? Do you pause in the middle of the day to sigh, thinking of your honey's warm, wet nose, and furry ears?
It's love, and we know it -- dogs and cats make the best Valentine's ever. There's no need to get them chocolates, and they have no use for flowers. In fact, these gifts are actually dangerous for them. But do you know why?
- Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Theirs. Everyone knows that chocolate causes abnormally high heart rhythms in dogs, among other problems. But not everyone is aware that baking chocolate is especially toxic. While an M&M or two may not do any harm, a dog or cat that snatches a large chunk of baking chocolate from the counter may end up in the ER. It is essential to keep all chocolates out of your pet's reach. Yes, even that last raspberry-filled nugget from the assorted box of chocolates no one ever seems to want to eat.
- Skip the Candygram. Sugar-free candies and gums often contain large amounts of xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to pets, especially dogs. If ingested, it may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure.
- Restart the Heart. If your dog or cat should ingest large amounts of chocolate, gum, or candy, it may go into cardiac arrest. Be prepared by learning the proper methods for artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary respiration (CPR), both of which can be found in our emergency section.
- A Rose is Just a Rose. But then again, it can also be a something that hurts your pets. The aroma from your floral arrangement may be too enticing for your dog or cat, and it only takes a nibble to cause a severe reaction. Even small amounts may lead to cases of upset stomachs or vomiting, particularly if the plant or flower is toxic. Be extremely careful if your arrangement contains lilies, as these lovely flowers are fatally poisonous to cats.
- To Give or Not to Give. Are you planning to gift a loved one a new puppy or kitten for Valentine's Day? You may want to reconsider. Mull it over and do your homework -- animals are not disposable, nor can they easily be repackaged, re gifted, or returned if the recipient is not pleased.