Make Your Valentine's Day Pet Friendly

With Valentine’s Day coming up, you may be thinking about gifts to give the one’s you love. Traditional tokens of your affection, such as chocolates and roses, can be harmful to your four-legged friends.

Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. Both of these methylxanthines can cause nervous stimulation, increased heart rate, tremors, and in some cases seizures. A small dog eating as little as 2 ounces of chocolate may begin to react adversely. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, elevated heart rate, hyperactivity, vomiting diarrhea, and seizures.

Take precautions with roses or other floral arrangements with thorns. If your cat or dog plays with the stems, the thorns could be bitten, swallowed, stepped on, or spread on the floor for you to step on. The chance for an infected or abscessed puncture wound is high. Also, many varieties of lilies are toxic to cats. Be aware of the potential hazards of the flowers you choose.

It’s very tempting to give your sweetheart something warm and fuzzy and full of love for Valentine’s Day. A kissy puppy or a cuddly kitten are awfully cute. Keep in mind that a new pet is a big decision, and can make a huge impact on the home and lifestyle. Make sure there are no allergies to be considered. One way around this is to present your love with a gift certificate to a local animal shelter. They can be redeemed with a pet adoption, or as a donation to the shelter.

If you plan a weekend getaway, don’t forget your pets. Be sure you have a trustworthy pet-sitter or kennel available if you are not taking your animals along on the trip. Many hotels and bed & breakfast venues now have accommodations for pets.

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