February has long been celebrated as a month of romance. A great time to connect with those we love and create feelings of warmth in the middle of a cold winter. It’s also a good time to spoil our pets with love and affection. Unfortunately, some of our favorite romantic traditions can pose a threat to our furry friends. With a small dose of caution, Valentine’s Day can be as much fun for pets as it is for humans—as long as dangerous items are kept out of paws’ reach!


If you’re sending flowers to a loved one with a cat, be specific with your florist; the bouquet should not contain lilies. If your cat has ingested part of a lily, signs of poisoning will advance within 6-12 hours. Early signs include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, and dehydration. If you notice these symptoms, take your cat to the vet right away. If your loved one sends you roses, it’s wise to clip the thorns off so nosey pets don’t bite or swallow the spines. This could potentially cause puncture wounds and infection.

Forbidden Chocolate

Most pet lovers know that chocolate is potentially life-threatening to our pets. Caffeine-like stimulants in chocolate affect the gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac functions. Xlitol is a sweetener used in many over the counter sweet treats (gum, candy and other treats) and can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar if consumed by Fido. When you indulge your own sweet tooth this Valentine’s Day, don’t share the confections with your chowhound!

Careful with Cocktails

Because animals are smaller than humans, alcohol can be toxic to dogs in very small doses. A small amount of alcohol can do a lot of harm. Similar to human consumption, too much alcohol will depress a dog’s central nervous system; and in large amounts can cause death.

Playing with Fire

Who doesn’t love the mood a candle lit room sets? Just be sure to put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kitties and nosey pups can burn themselves or worse, cause a fire in your home by knocking over unattended candles.

If you want your pets to know how much you love them this Valentine’s Day, spoil them with gourmet treats specifically prepared for feline and canine companions. When I want to indulge my own little terriers, I pamper them with gourmet peanut butter treats that I buy locally.