Smart Tips for Safe Pups: Sniffing Out Valentine’s Day Dangers

Photo: @thatgoldendog

Do you ruuuuv V-Day or do you turn up your nose at the over-hyped hoopla? There are a few of us in each camp here at SWD, but when it comes to celebrating, we agree this holiday is paw-sitively heartwarming if it’s all about puppy love. And there’s zero stress ‘cause treats, play time, and extra snuggles are all they want and need from you. Keep in mind, though, that gifts for human family members could turn this sweet day from delightful to disastrous for dogs in minutes. Read on for the top pet threats, then commence cuddling with thy canine:

FLOWER POWER
Sweetly scented roses are a classic pick, but munching on them may cause gastro upset in dogs, and if a little pup gulps down a big bloom, a blockage could occur. More likely to be a problem? If your pup decides to play fetch, thinking a stem is a good sub for a stick. Ouch! Thorns can mangle mouths (and pierce paws!). Lush lilies are another lovely option, but consuming parts from any variety can cause mild tummy troubles for dogs (and be aware that lilies are deadly to kitties, even in tiny amounts.)

CHOCOLATE TALK
Although the darker the chocolate, the better (health-wise) for humans, the opposite holds true for dogs. Darker versions (including gourmet high-cacao treats, semi-sweet, and baker’s chocolate) have more theobromine, the component you DO NOT want your dogs to ingest. If they do? Expect mild vomiting and diarrhea for smaller amounts and the possibility of major problems like seizures and cardiac issues if they consume too much. But light’s not all right, either. Even white chocolate can bring on pancreatitis, due to high levels of sugar and fat.

TIP: Be extra vigilant with chocolate-covered goodies like raisins, macadamia nuts, and espresso beans as these are essentially poison-covered poison for pups.

ZILCH XYLITOL
Minty fresh for you, mighty bad for canines. This sugar substitute can be found in breath mints and gum (as well as some colorful candies). A small dog woofing down one little piece of gum? Big problem. Symptoms range from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), loss of coordination, and vomiting to collapse, seizure, and liver damage.

NO BOOZEHOUNDS
Whether you’re toasting with bubbly or a brew, keep these bevs far away from the furry four-legged friends in your life. All alcohol is off limits, and hops are particularly horrible for dogs. Imbibing can bring about weakness and staggering, dehydration, and vomiting and diarrhea. Large amounts can lead to a drop in blood sugar and/or pressure, seizure, collapse, and even coma. Even the ice from your cocktails can cause problems, so do not toss ‘em a cube. And if you overdo it on Valentine’s Day, put ibuprofen out of reach, too — it was one of the top five toxins reported by vets the past two Februaries.

PRETTY LITTLE EXTRAS
Admire the colorful ribbons and bows festooning the bouquets and boxes, then toss in the trash ASAP. Their bright and shiny nature makes them tempting playthings (for both of you!). A cute tease-and-chase could quickly become a case for an emergency visit if your pooch decides they might taste as good as they look. And beware of balloons. To our pals, they’re nothing more than balls, which sharp nails and teeth turn into easy pickins for covert snacks. That don’t always pass out the other side. See what we’re sayin’? Keep an eye on them — and the ribbon “leashes” that can make them easy to capture.   

Truth is, our pals have a way of getting into things they shouldn’t. If you suspect your dog has ingested something on this list, get to your vet or nearest emergency care center, or call the Pet Poison Helpline immediately (open 24/7, a per-incident fee applies).

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