February 14th is a day for showering your significant other with gifts, but many people don’t realise that popular Valentine’s Day gifts like bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates can be extremely harmful to pets. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t receive sweet treats or beautiful roses, it just means you need to be extra cautious on where you store your gifts.
We spoke to leading dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, on the importance of keeping your pet safe this Valentine’s Day. Here are their top tips:
1. Make Sure Flowers Are Pet Safe
Bouquets of flowers are the most popular gift that people give their significant others on Valentine’s Day but those beautiful bouquets of roses and lilies are extremely dangerous for pets, if eaten, plants can have the following effects:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach upset
- Skin allergy
- Severe digestive upset
Make sure that toxic plants and flowers are stored safely away from your dog. Rose thorns can pierce paws and become stuck so trim these flowers carefully and throw the clippings away before putting in a vase. If you’re ordering a bouquet for a loved one that has animals, speak with the florist and specify that no toxic flowers are to be included in the order.
2. Keep Chocolate Out Of Reach
Chocolate is highly toxic so if you receive a lovely box of sweet treats this Valentine’s Day make sure you keep them out of reach of your dog. Don’t leave them out on a table or put them on a shelf, store them in the refrigerator or in a place where your dog absolutely cannot get them.
3. Don’t Give Your Dog A Baked Goodie
If your gift to your sweetheart involves baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, make sure your dog doesn’t get his/her paws on the ingredients or the finished masterpieces. Sweet ingredients like chocolate chips and sugar are toxic for dogs, and things like butter can cause a lot of digestive upset and diarrhoea.
4. Sugar-Free Treats Are Also A No-Go
Chocolate isn’t the only toxic food substance that dogs ingest during Valentine’s Day. Sugar-free sweets and baked goods that contain artificial sweeteners like Xylitol are also very dangerous. Xylitol can cause liver failure and in severe cases death so keep this substance as far away from your dog as possible and always read the labels before treating your dog.
5. Be Careful With Drinks
If you’re planning a romantic night in and have a couple of Valentine’s Day cocktails on the menu, make sure that you keep the liquor capped and on a high shelf where your dog can’t get at it. If prosecco and champagne are the drink options on the night, make sure you keep your dog at a distance when you’re popping the cork. Also, don’t leave half-filled cups of alcohol around the house, unattended. Dogs will get at them, drink them and become very sick as a result.
6. Be Careful With Candles
Candles are a great mood-setter and the perfect way to create a cosy, romantic atmosphere easily and cheaply. However, candles are dangerous around dogs. To prevent your dog getting burned or accidentally knocking over a candle and starting a fire, invest in a couple of flameless candles – all the romance and no risk.
7. Wrap Up The Wrappings
Keep wrapping paper, string, plastic, ribbons, or cloth away from your dog when you are gift wrapping. If your dog eats them, it can cause severe problems. If you’re unwrapping gifts, throw away the ribbon and wrappings in a bin with a closed lid.
8. No Poppers, Please
Dogs have incredibly sensitive ears so decorations like balloons and party poppers will hurt them when popped. This Valentine’s Day skip the decorations for the safety of your pet.
9. Store Your Stuffed Animals Up High
Cute teddy bears holding hearts are popular Valentine’s Day gifts – even for dogs. However, the stuffing inside these cute soft toys can be toxic and cause health problems if your dog rips them open and eats it. If you’re gifted a teddy bear, put them up high on a shelf where your dog won’t be able to get them – don’t leave them on the couch or on the bed.
10. Prepare Your Dog For Visitors
If you’re having a couple of friends over for dinner this Valentine’s Day, it’s important to stick to your daily routine as much as possible, for example feed and exercise times. If you’ve kept to normal routine, the chances are your dog will be nice and relaxed by the time they arrive. You can also help your dog to stay calm by giving them a distraction when your guests first arrive, for example a long-lasting treat. Also, it’s important to make sure your dog has somewhere they go for peace and quiet with their bed and fresh water when things get too much.