Couples everywhere will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend. We hope all of you have a WONDERFUL day!! My wife and I enjoy spoiling each other. Yet, this lover’s holiday poses a potential problem for our pets.

Candies and flowers are two staples for the romantic Valentine’s Day sweethearts. Unfortunately, what is anxiously received by us may be a problem for our four legged friends. Most people are aware that chocolates are dangerous for pets, especially our dogs that cannot seem to resist them. Candy made of milk chocolate is safer than darker and baking chocolates, but too much can be hazardous to the canine candy thief. Chocolate can cause arrhythmias, hyperactivity, vomiting and pancreatitis. If you receive chocolates this weekend, be sure to keep them in a safe place for you, not your pet, to enjoy.

Our florists are very busy this week. Sending flowers on Valentine’s Day is a long-standing tradition. The bouquets that are delivered to your door are beautiful to look out, and our pets, especially cats, can keep their paws off of them. Many houseplants and floral arrangements contain potentially toxic and deadly flowers. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the top plants that can poison our pets include many that are used by florists at this time of year.

Plants that have been shown to cause problems in pets after ingestion include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Lilies (Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese): Can cause kidney failure, especially for cats. 
  • Autumn crocus: Causes GI upset.
  • Azaleas and daffodils: Popular gifts that can cause excessive vomiting and azaleas even death.
  • Ornamental Plants (Sago Palms, oleander and dieffenbachia)
  • Tulips: The bulbs contain chemicals that can be toxic if ingested.

If your Valentine has pets at home, you can request that your florist avoid poisonous flowers in your gift arrangement especially if your pets are prone to eating the arrangement. Our cat, AJ, will not leave them alone. We put them on a dresser that he cannot reach. Cats are very inquisitive and go to great lengths to investigate a new plant.

If you find that your pet has eaten chocolate or a plant, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 for guideance.

From all of us at the Gardner Animal Care Center, have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!