Valentine’s Day is a holiday that should be filled with love, joy, and happiness. Don’t let a mishap ruin your holiday plans, such as leaving a box of tempting Valentine chocolates in your canine companion’s reach. It may just take a second of distraction and you may end up taking your dog to the veterinary emergency hospital rather than spending this special day in the company of your loved ones.
Generally, holidays and the days following holidays are busy days at veterinarian offices. It is not uncommon for dogs to get in trouble around these festivities. All it takes is some extra caution and preventive care to ensure your dog is safe and happy during these special days.
Valentine’s Day should not be any different: knowledge is power so keep an eye on these threats.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe for Valentine’s Day
Keep all Chocolates Away
Chocolate continues to be a common cause of toxicity in dogs. Dogs are attracted by its smell but they have no clue that it may take just a small amount of the dark type to seriously harm smaller dogs like our chihuahuas.
While baking chocolate is by far the most harmful, semi-sweet arrives second, followed by milk chocolate and the least harmful of all: white chocolate.
The problem is that chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. These two stimulants are capable of affecting the central nervous system and the heart muscle, causing restlessness, panting, increased urination, hyperactivity, and even seizures and death.
Should your dog ingest chocolate call your vet immediately: if less than two hours have passed you may still be able to induce vomiting. Let the vet know exactly how much you believe your dog ate, the type of chocolate, and how long ago you think they ate it.
Follow your vet’s instructions carefully on how to induce vomiting and what to do afterward.
If more than two hours have passed, your dog will need veterinary supportive care if it has eaten a toxic dose.
Keep Toys Away
That cute stuffed teddy bear, cuddly toy kitten, or cupid toy, can all be attractive to your dog.
Many dogs are living ‘’hoovers’’ and will grab toys, break them apart and swallow large pieces whole. Some parts may be choking hazards but if the dog swallows them with no problems, if the parts are large enough, they may lodge in the dog’s stomach or curvy areas of the intestinal tract getting stuck and causing an obstruction. Such obstructions may turn out quite expensive since surgery in most cases is the only way to dislodge and remove the item once and for all.
Do Not Feed Left Overs
Almost every household celebrates holidays by cooking something special. It is tempting to want to involve dogs in enjoying special meals. However, a dog’s stomach was not meant to eat certain types of foods. Fatty meals in particular such as bacon, ham, leftover turkey (a small amount of white meat without the skin is fine) may cause a dog to develop acute pancreatitis, a serious inflammation of the pancreas.
Also, do not feed leftover cooked bones that can splinter or lodge in the dog’s intestinal tract.
Keep These Foods Out Of Reach
There are other dangers other than chocolate for Valentine’s day. Indeed there are some foods that appear quite innocuous to humans but that can seriously cause a dog to get ill.
Raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, grapes are a few foods not many dog owners know can be harmful to dogs according to the ASPCA. Also, consider that candy containing the sweetener Xylitol, also known as Birch Sugar can lead to liver failure.
Valentine’s Day may be a much anticipated day and all dog owners should remember to keep an eye on their fur babies. It is easy to get distracted while cooking, getting ready or celebrating in the company of a loved one. If you cannot watch your dog, safely confine them somewhere safe, where you are sure they can stay out of harm’s way.
And be sure to give something special to your sweet fur baby for Valentine’s Day too. A special dog treat or dog toy, just something to let them know how much you love them.