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Poolesville Veterinary Clinic Valentine’s Day: A Word of Caution about Dogs and Chocolate

By Dr. Peter Eeg

Each year, poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14, many involving chocolate or lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. Valentine’s Day can be as much fun for pets as it is for humans—as long as dangerous items are kept out of paws’ reach!

Pet-Safe Bouquets

When sending a floral arrangement to someone with a cat, specify that it contains nolilies—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant.

Forbidden Chocolate

Seasoned pet lovers know that all types of chocolate are potentially life-threatening when ingested by pets. Methylxanthines are caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic, and cardiac function; they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.

Careful with Cocktails

Spilled wine, a half a glass of champagne, or some leftover liquor is nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, 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 also occur if a large amount is ingested.

Life Is Sweet...

...S0 don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy, and other treats that include this sweetener can result in hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood sugar). This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination, and seizures.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny-stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on, or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.

Playing with Fire

It’s nice to set your evening aglow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or

cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles. Wrap It Up

Gather up the tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane, and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy, and fun-to-chew items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.

The Furry Gift of Life?

Giving a cuddly puppy or kitten may seem a fitting Valentine’s Day gift; however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on is anything but romantic. Companion animals bring with them a lifelong commitment, and choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right.


Poolesville Veterinary Clinic

DR. EEG AND THE ENTIRE VETERINARY STAFF ARE DEDICATED TO PROVIDING THE HIGHEST QUALITY VETERINARY CARE WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH. PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE  LASER SURGERY * ACUPUNCTURE * DENTAL CARE * LASER THERAPYPIBEROPTIC VIDEO SCOPE  ADVANCED IN-HOUSE LABORATORY * MICROCHIPPING’DIGITAL RADIOGRAPHY * GERIATRIC HEALTH MANAGEMENT PAIN MANAGEMENT  BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION * REPRODUCTION

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