Saturday, February 13, 2010

ASPCA Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Drifter models his Valentine's Day sweater

Furry valentines across the country will be party to all sorts of romantic evenings at home this February 14—are you prepared to keep your pet safe?

Two common holiday hazards to stay alert to are chocolate and lilies, warn our poison control experts. In the week prior to Valentine's Day 2008, cases involving chocolate ingestion increased by 74%—a number comparable only to cases seen during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. And bouquet senders and receivers alike are often unaware of the dangers of lilies. Says ASPCA pet poison prevention expert Dana Farbman, CVT, "We do see an increase in calls regarding traditional holiday gifts, particularly in the few days leading up to and after Valentine's Day—right when those bouquets and lovely boxes of chocolate arrive."

Here are some helpful tips from the ASPCA Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s Day:

- When sending a floral arrangement, request that it contain no lilies, as all species within the plant genera Lilium are toxic to cats. And please de-thorn your roses, as their sharp, woody spines can hurt your pet if chewed, stepped on or swallowed.

- Stow chocolates in paw-proof drawers and cabinets. The darker the chocolate, the more likely a pet who’s ingested it will suffer vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an elevated heart rate.

- Spilled wine is nothing to cry over—until a curious pet laps it up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing and even coma.

- Gather up tape, ribbons, cellophane and balloons after you open presents—long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract.

For more tips, read our complete online guide. As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian or the APCC’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great info! I just wanted to make you aware of another animal poison control also called Pet Poison Helpline based out of Minneapolis. They are more cost effective at $35/case vs ASPCA's $60-65. You can find more info at They are 24/7 and can be reached at 800-213-6680. Great info! Thanks for spreading the word on pet safety!