Valentine’s day is just around the corner which means lots of presents holding sugary treats, chocolates (possibly with nuts or raisins too), flowers and ribbon or string. Although these things can bring happiness to your day, they can turn pretty sour if they end up in your beloved pets’ mouths.
Here are SASH’s watch outs for Valentine’s day.

1.    Lilies and Roses

Although beautiful, lilies and roses can be harmful and even fatal to our pets. All lilies are extremely toxic and can cause acute kidney failure within 1-2 days. This can be fatal if not treated immediately. Even just 1 or 2 small bits of petals, leaves or the pollen can be toxic. Lilies like Tiger Lilies have a lot of brown / golden pollen which stains everything it gets in contact with.  If a cat gets some of the pollen on them they will groom themselves to remove it and ingest it that way.   While not toxic like lilies, roses often come covered in thorns so please remember to remove the thorns before bringing into your home. The thorns can cause trauma to the mouth or paws of your pets.

2.    Chocolate

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic for pets. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it is and the more toxic it will be. If your pet eats any chocolate you should take them to your local vet immediately to make sure it doesn’t have any lasting effects. It’s important that you are able to tell your vet how much they have eaten. If it’s 1 – 2 M&M’s they are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning, but if it is a block of dark chocolate, this can have serious effects, particularly on the heart.



3.     Chocolate covered raisins, nuts & coffee beans

Raisins can cause acute kidney failure and shouldn’t be ingested by your pets. Nuts such as Macadamia Nuts are quite toxic to your pets although the toxin itself hasn’t been identified. If ingested, it can cause serious neurological problems in your pets. Coffee beans have a similar effect to chocolate and should also be kept away from your pets.

4.     Xylitol

Xylitol is commonly found in sugar substitutes and chewing gum. Best to avoid any of the breath mints and colourful candy presents. Xylitol can cause life-threatening low blood glucose levels and also liver damage. Veterinary attention will be required to induce emesis (make your pet vomit) if any of these are ingested by your pets.

5.     Ribbons or String

As with any present, it is highly likely that your gift will come wrapped in a pretty ribbon or string. Make sure to discard of these safely to ensure your pets don’t try to nibble on those too. If swallowed by your pet, it can travel all the way to the intestines and tear right through it or ball up and form an obstruction. Best to avoid the chance altogether.


6.     Alcohol

You may want to celebrate with a few bubbly drinks but be sure to finish off your glass. Even a little bit of alcohol can be harmful to your pet. Both the hops in beer and the grapes in wine can cause vomiting and laboured breathing in your pets as well as the potential to cause kidney damage.

7.     Pets as gifts

Please don’t give pets as a gift unless you know for a fact that the person receiving the animal really wants to care for it for its lifetime.  An adorable kitten or puppy is a ten to 15 year commitment, not an object you can ignore when it grows up or needs some of your time and love and attention.
Have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day with all your loved ones, from SASH.