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Valentine’s Day is the holiday of romance and many of you may be receiving or sending beautiful flowers and of course… cany. Unfortunately, some of these well-intentioned gifts can be toxic for pets. In some ways, pets are like children. Since they can’t protect themselves from poisons, we need to store poisons where pets – and children – cannot reach them. The Texas Poison Center Network would like to offer the following tips to keep our four-legged friends safe this holiday. 
Chocolate:

  • Most people know chocolate is dangerous for dogs. For most people, the only danger of overindulgence of chocolate is an expanding waistline. But for dogs, eating chocolate can cause seizures and even death. 
  • All forms of chocolate – milk, dark, semi-sweet, baking, and cocoa – contain theobromine, a substance similar to caffeine that is toxic for dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. 
  • Chocolate can cause nausea, vomiting, tremors, and seizures in dogs and other animals. Effects can begin shortly after eating it. Treatment should begin quickly.
  • Remember, it’s the dose that makes the poison! There are no specific antidotes for theobromine poisoning in animals. Depending on how long it takes between ingestion and treatment, veterinarians may attempt to empty the stomach and give activated charcoal to absorb the theobromine. 

Xylitol: 

  • Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute,”a natural sugar substitute that, because of its anti-cavity properties for human teeth, is commonly found in “sugar-free” gum, mints, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and diet foods. And it’s now even being added to certain brands of peanut butter. 
  • Dogs ingesting significant amounts of gum or candies solely or largely sweetened with xylitol may develop a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and even liver failure. Symptoms can appear very quickly.

Alcohol: 

  • Their small size makes most pets unable to handle much beer, wine or liquor.  Don’t give these beverages to pets or allow them to lick up spilled drinks!
  • A little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can occur if a large amount is ingested.

Plants: 

  • Many common indoor and outdoor plants can be harmful to your pet. Some of the more popular varieties that may be found around Valentine’s Day are: Baby’s Breath, Chrysanthemums, Daffodils, various Lilies, Ferns, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Impatiens, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rubber plant, and Tulips. Know the names of your plants and keep poisonous plants away from your pet’s living areas. 
  • Lilies are frequently sold in fresh bouquets and make a beautiful alternative to Valentine’s Day roses. They can be deadly however to cats, especially since they seem to be drawn to nibble on houseplants.

Other foods: 

  • Onions and garlic and their seasoning salts can also cause problems for some pets.  They can cause anemia and other health conditions
  • Macademia nuts can cause decreased ability to move muscles, weakness, tremors, fever & vomiting for dogs. 
  • Grapes, raisins, & prunes can cause kidney failure in dogs. 
  • Avocado can cause vomiting and cardiac failure for dogs, birds & rodents