e-Vet ALERT: Valentine dangers to your pet – roses, lilies, raisins, chocolate and more

Topic: Valentine Dangers to Your Pet

by D.E.L.T.A. Rescue Veterinarian, Dr. Gaylord Brown

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner be aware of some treats and gifts that can be toxic or dangerous to your pets.

Lilies are often included in Valentine bouquets. They contain a toxin in the petals, leaves, and pollen. The water in their vases can become toxic due to their presence. These lilies can cause acute kidney failure in cats within a day or two of exposure. In dogs the toxin does not cause kidney failure but will cause a gastroenteritis.

Roses may cause a gastrointestinal upset in both dogs and cats if their petals or leaves are consumed. They also present a puncture risk to your pet’s mouth due to the thorns.

Many are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. The darker the chocolate the more theobromine it will contain. This toxin is dose related. The more ingested, the greater the risk. The signs range from mild vomiting to seizures and collapse. White chocolate is not without risk. The high sugar and fat content may lead to pancreatitis.

Common items covered in chocolate can increase the risk. The most likely offenders are raisins, espresso beans, and macadamia nuts. Raisins alone may cause kidney failure. The espresso beans’ caffeine content will potentiate the toxic effect of the theobromine and in high doses is toxic alone. Macadamia nuts can cause a generally non-fatal toxicity in dogs characterized by nausea, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia, and depression. If chocolate is added the event could be fatal.

A common sugar substitute, xylitol, is toxic to pets. It is commonly found in sugar free gum, candy, baked goods, and breath mints. Xylitol may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

The key to treatment is early recognition and prompt medical treatment. Ingestion of these toxins is a true medical emergency and should be treated as such. Prevention is the best strategy. Seek veterinary assistance if ingestion occurs. Have a safe and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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