How to have a pet friendly Valentine’s Day

How to Have a Pet Friendly Valentine’s Day

Romance lovers, protect your pets! Here are some typical Valentine’s Day gift and celebration ideas that should come with a warning for your furry friends.


The most common Valentine’s Day gift is chocolate. Unfortunately, it is not a gift suitable for your furry friends. If ingested, your pet can experience vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, and an abnormally elevated heart rate from even the smallest amount of chocolate. Cats are sensitive, too, but they don’t normally eat large enough amounts of chocolate to cause anything worse than gastrointestinal upset. Chocolate also contains fat and caffeine-like substances known as methylxanthines, which can potentially cause the above symptoms and, in severe cases, death.

Sugar Substitutes

Other potential hazardous treats from Cupid’s holiday include gum and other candies sweetened with the sugar substitute, xylitol. It can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (known as hypoglycemia). This can result in depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. If you suspect your pet may have eaten something with a sugar substitute, please seek veterinary help immediately.

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol, in various forms, is also another popular item associated with Valentine’s Day. Curious pets are notorious for leaving no stone unturned or in this case, no glass. However, if alcohol is ingested, this can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances, and at worst, coma. Alcohol can even cause death from respiratory failure if a large enough amount is ingested. It is important to keep in mind that animals, in general, are not only smaller than us, but they also often metabolize substances differently. For this Valentine’s Day and the next, be sure to keep bubbly beverages or anything containing alcohol, out of reach of your pets!


Roses are red, violets are…safe! There are numerous amounts of flowers and plants that are poisonous to animals. For this time of year especially, it is crucial to keep all of them out of paws’ reach. A variety of lilies are highly toxic to cats, so if lilies are your flower of choice, make sure your cats can’t get near them.

Other potentially poisonous flowers may include:

  • Daisies
  • Amaryllis
  • Tulips
  • Calla Lily
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Baby’s Breath

Safer alternatives might include:

  • African Violet
  • Asters
  • Camellia
  • Jasmine
  • Orchids

For more information on toxic flowers and plants check out Animal Poison Control | (888) 426-4435 | ASPCA

Burning Candles

A romantic candlelit dinner seems almost essential during this holiday.  Just be sure to not leave the room while the flames are still burning. The light from the candle can draw the attention of curious paws and beaks and we don’t want these precious pets getting burned, or hot wax spilled on them.

Wrapping and Decorations

Please keep balloons, cellophane, tape, ribbons, bows, and other wrapping items or festive decorations out of your pets’ reach. Choking on any of these items, or ingesting them, may prove hazardous to your pet’s health.

Giving Pets as Presents

It may seem very tempting to give your loved one a new puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day and other holidays. However, no matter how cute and cuddly, bringing a new companion into your home is a big decision. Why not present your loved one with a gift certificate to adopt from your local shelter, or take a trip to the shelter together? You might fall in love with your future pet together!

Now that we have mentioned all of the watch-outs for this lovely holiday, we want to share ASPCA’s list of fun ways to celebrate with your fur-ever valentine. If you believe your pet has ingested any of the hazardous items listed above, please contact University Veterinary Hospital in Berkeley, CA at 510-841-4412.