ORANGE PARK – Valentine’s Day can be a joyous holiday for families but Clay Humane, a nonprofit animal clinic in Orange Park, is reminding the day of love can bring safety risks for pets.
Clay Humane Senior Staff Veterinarian Dr. Christian Broadhurst says, "While Feb. 14 is a great time to celebrate love for our family, friends and pets, we have to remember some of the things we enjoy are dangerous for animals. “Luckily, with a few simple precautions, we can keep our beloved furry family members safe during Valentine's Day.”
Some suggestions from Broadhurst include:
• Keep chocolate and candy away from your pets: Just three ounces of baking chocolate can kill a 15-pound dog, as it’s poisonous for pets. Xylitol, an ingredient often used as a sugar substitute in many candies, is also extremely dangerous for pets. Make sure all chocolate and candy are kept away from cats and dogs.
• Avoid certain flowers: A variety of plants including lilies, azaleas, oleander and rhododendron are also poisonous for pets. Keep your pets away from any flowers and plants to be safe.
• Watch the thorns on roses: Roses are a very popular Valentine’s Day gift but the thorns on the flowers can hurt dogs and cats. Thorns can cause cuts on pets' paws and in their mouths and can lead to stomach issues.
• Keep an eye on flames: While candles are popular on Valentine's Day, pets can easily burn themselves or knock over candles causing fires. Make sure all candles are out of reach for pets.
"Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to celebrate your love for your pet," says Broadhurst. "Try giving your pet a toy or treat made for animals to ensure it is a healthy and happy holiday for both of you."
Poisoning in pets can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite and excessive thirst.
If you think your pet has come in contact with something poisonous, contact your veterinarian immediately.