Published: 09:00, 11 February 2022
Valentine's Day is a good opportunity to shower your furry friends with love and treats. However, you must be careful on what to gift your pets on the romantic day, as chocolate and some plants can actually harm them.
With the big day approaching, an expert at GoCompare Pet Insurance offers tips on how to pet-proof your Valentine's Day.
The insurance company asked more than 2,000 owners if they knew chocolate was dangerous to dogs.
Most of them were aware of the harmful effects of chocolate, but a surprising 32% considered chocolate not to be dangerous to pooches.
Hannah Isitt, pet expert at GoCompare said: "Valentine’s Day is all about food, romance and thinking of your loved ones. If you want to show your love to your pet during this special occasion, it’s better to celebrate safely and ensure that dangerous items are kept out of paws reach.
"It’s worrying that only two-thirds of dog owners knew that chocolates were dangerous to dogs – it does make you wonder whether the other 32% think it’s OK for a dog to consume chocolate.
"There are so many alternatives to treat your pets, not just with food but also with accessories like dog collars or bedding. If your pet does consume anything they shouldn’t, there are many ways to get in touch with your vet and some services even provide out of hour care."
Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which can be toxic for both cats and dogs, as their digestive systems are unable to break it down.
This can lead to chocolate poisoning, which can depend on the amount and type of chocolate, as well as the size and breed of your pet.
Symptoms include vomiting, which can sometimes include blood or breathing heavily and rapidly, increased heart rate, restlessness, or diarrhoea.
They can occur any time from four to 24 hours after consumption.
If you wish to gift your pet a sweet treat, why not try an alternative to chocolate, such as Carob “chocolate” for them to try out?
Owners should also be mindful of their pet's health when picking out a bouquet to give to a loved one.
Flowers like lilies, foxgloves, hyacinths and carnations are all very toxic to pets and dangerous if ingested.
Roses, which are a popular choice for this date, should also be avoided, as their thorns can puncture paw pads or stomachs if eaten.
Remember to seek advice from your vet if your pet ingests any toxic plants or chocolate.