Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spoil our loved ones, and in this instance by loved ones we don’t mean the furry kind. Occasions like Valentine’s Day and birthdays often mean an abundance of beautiful fresh flowers, delicious chocolates and sometimes new undergarments. We love receiving these gifts and our pets also find them exciting and tempting.
Dogs and cats often explore by tasting, chewing and rolling on things that they shouldn’t. Unfortunately many of the common flowers we enjoy having in our home and the yummy chocolates we like to indulge in are very harmful to our pets.
Ingestion of certain flowers causes toxicity in our pets with symptoms ranging from vomiting, diarrhoea and acute renal or cardiac failure. Lilies, in particular, are a very popular household flower yet all types of lilies are extremely toxic to pets, especially our feline friends. The entire plant is toxic and symptoms of lily toxicity include vomiting (often containing pieces of lily) and signs associated with kidney failure including disinterest in food, depression, vomiting and the ability to urinate properly.
Unlike us, pets cannot handle the key ingredient in chocolate, theobromine. This ingredient is in all kinds of chocolate including white chocolate. The most dangerous kinds, however, are dark chocolate, chocolate mulch, and unsweetened baking chocolate. Chocolate toxicity causes a wide range of problems; pets begin to vomit, suffer diarrhoea, urinate excessively and become hyperactive. This can be followed by depression, coma, seizures and the result can be fatal.
Believe it or not, undergarments and socks are very common objects that dogs like to steal and ingest. There have been plenty of panties, socks and handkerchiefs that have put pet’s lives at risk due to ingestion which has resulted in exploratory surgery to locate and remove the piece of clothing.
With love in the air this weekend, we think it’s timely to urge all pet parents to be mindful about the gifts they are purchasing for loved ones and ensure that fresh flowers (especially lilies), chocolates and small items of clothing are kept out of reach of our pets.
The Animal Emergency Centre has some great informative brochures on common toxins and our pets.