Valentine’s Day Pet Safety: It’s More Than Just Chocolate

Feb 14

Categories: Pet Care

Valentine’s Day Pet Safety: It’s More Than Just Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and while you are probably thinking about your plans for the holiday, it is also important to consider how the holiday could be dangerous for your pet and how you can prevent any problems from arising. Cherry Hill Animal Hospital in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, wants to alert pet owners of the items that they should keep away from their pets.

Sugar-free Sweetener

Xylitol is a common sweetening agent found in sugar-free products, such as gum and even some homemade sweet treats. Xylitol is known to cause hypoglycemia or a sudden decrease in blood sugar. Hypoglycemia can lead to depression, lack of coordination, and even seizures. Ingestion of xylitol can also lead to liver failure. Watch out for this sweetener in any products that you bring into your home, or receive on Valentine’s Day. If your pet ingests anything containing xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Roses and Flowers

As a pet owner, you know to watch out for thorns on roses, but your pet doesn’t. If you have roses around your home on Valentine’s Day, make sure to trim back the thorns so your pet doesn’t get poked while smelling or otherwise investigating the pretty flowers. If your pet comes in contact with a thorn, either by biting it, stepping on it, getting poked by it, or eating it, he or she could end up with a wound or infection. Keep your pets away from the roses while you de-thorn them, or keep the flowers out of your pet’s reach altogether to ensure a safe holiday for all of your family members.

If you aren’t a rose lover, you may end up with a bouquet of other beautiful flowers on Valentine’s Day. While flowers are beautiful, cat owners who receive lilies could be in for a real surprise. Lilies of almost any variety are considered toxic to cats. Symptoms of lily poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. As a pet owner, you may want to check to see if any of the flowers in your arrangement are potentially hazardous to your pets. To do so, check out the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants.

Wine and Alcohol

Alcohol is a big no-no for our pets. Wine, champagne, and other alcoholic beverages are commonly consumed on Valentine’s Day, but you need to be sure that your pet doesn’t have access to these adult beverages. What you would consider a small amount of alcohol can be enough to intoxicate your pet. Alcohol poisoning is also an issue for pets, and the signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, tremors, central nervous system depression, metabolic disturbances, and even a coma. Respiratory failure can also occur when large quantities of alcohol are ingested, and it could be fatal.


While candles seem harmless, they can cause big problems for pet owners. Never leave your pet alone with a candle. Curious pets may try to investigate the candle and burn themselves or start a fire. You should always make sure that candles are completely put out before you leave them in a room with your dog or cat, who may attempt to knock them off of the table.


Most pet owners know the potential dangers of a pet digesting chocolate. However, with the amount of chocolate being handed out on Valentine’s Day, it can be difficult to keep track of. As a pet owner, it is important to try to keep pets away from chocolate. You can do this by storing chocolate in an area that your pet doesn’t have access to such as a pantry or high countertop.

The reason that chocolate is so dangerous is that it contains methylxanthines, caffeine-like stimulants. These stimulants can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, and elevated heart rate. Additionally, chocolate can have a high-fat content that can inflame the pancreas and be potentially life-threatening.

Baking chocolate has the highest content of the dangerous ingredients followed by dark chocolate and milk chocolate has the least, but can still be lethal with high ingestions.

What to Do in the Event of an Emergency

Even pet owners who do their very best to protect their pets might encounter a scary situation. If your pet happens to get into food or other items that they shouldn’t or burn themselves on a candle, you should seek veterinary care right away. If your primary veterinarian is still open, you can reach out to them. However, if it is after hours, you can contact an emergency veterinarian in your area for help. In some cases, the veterinarian will walk you through what you need to do to help your pet. In an emergency situation, they will direct you on what you need to do immediately and then tell you how to get your pet safely to the emergency veterinary clinic.

Following the advice of a veterinary professional gives your pet the best chance at a full recovery. At Cherry Hill Animal Hospital, we recommend Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Mount Laurel for after-hours emergency care. They are a veterinary emergency hospital open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide care for pets in the area. To speak to staff at the emergency hospital call 856-429-4394. For questions regarding Valentine’s Day safety or other primary care issues, you can contact the staff at Cherry Hill Animal Hospital by calling 856-325-2100.

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