Happy Valentine’s Day! Here at the ASPCA, we’re excited to spend the day with our loved ones—with two or four legs! By now, most pet parents have heard that chocolate treats pose dangers to dogs, but we wanted to point out a few other tips to keep your pets happy and safe this Valentine’s Day.
Precautionary Petals: While flowers are a Valentine’s Day staple, there are a few types to be wary of. First, all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. Check out our plant library to learn more about plants that are toxic to pets. Also, be mindful of rose stems with thorns attached—when pets bite step on or swallow them, they could develop an infection.
Careful with Cocktails: If you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bottle of wine or champagne, make sure your pet doesn’t try to join in. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause serious illnesses in pets, including vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination and other problems.
Don’t Share Your Sweets: In addition to chocolate, candies and gums that are sweetened with xylitol are unsafe for pets to consume. It’s important to keep sweet treats out of your pet’s reach.
While the holidays are a time for baked goods galore, it’s often unsafe for our four-legged friends to join in on the sugar-filled fun. Just before Christmas, Tinkerbell, a two-year-old, five-pound Chihuahua, wolfed down eight macadamia nut cookies that she found in her pet parent’s backpack. When her pet parent, Joseph C., saw that Tinkerbell was vomiting and lethargic, he brought her to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH).
ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Michael Dugan assessed Tinkerbell, and submitted lab work. Her symptoms and test results were consistent with possible macadamia nut toxicity. AAH staff consulted with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and confirmed that this was a strong possibility.
Tinkerbell was admitted to AAH where she received supportive care in the Intensive Care Unit. Luckily, she responded well to treatment. She went home the next day with antibiotics and antacids, and Joseph reports that she has made a full recovery. He says from now on, he’ll keep sweet treats out of Tinkerbell’s reach. We’re so glad this tiny pup is happy and healthy!
During the holiday season, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) experiences increased call traffic as pets are exposed to potentially poisonous home décor and holiday snacks. APCC is a call center that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, to provide guidance to pet parents in poison-related emergencies.
Susan, a recent APCC caller, reached out to thank us for helping her through a scary situation with her dog. Polo, a five-year-old Sheltie mix, suffers from separation anxiety. Susan called us immediately after accidentally giving Polo an allergy medication instead of her intended separation anxiety pill. Elizabeth, an APCC technician, and Dr. Monica Overman, an APCC veterinarian, consulted on the case. Thankfully, this particular mix-up was not life-threatening. The APCC team provided Susan with a list of things to monitor and how to treat them should they occur.
"I was so grateful to the ASPCA for having a poison control hotline that I could call,” Susan says. “Elizabeth was very calming and really put my mind at ease that evening."
We’re happy to report that Polo is doing well at home!
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