According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, its animal poison control center sees an increase in poisoning cases around Valentine’s Day.

Theobromine, a caffeine-like substance found in cocoa, can affect a pet’s cardiac, neurological and gastrointestinal systems. Once swallowed, there is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning, so call your veterinarian at once.

Chocolate however, is not the only thing that can turn Valentine’s Day a into a doggie disaster day. To ensure a happy holiday, Martin Ortiz of Safe Pet  is encouraging pet parents to practice these Valentine’s pet safety tips, and to sign up for a pet first aid class and CPR class. “As hard as we try to keep our dogs and cats safe, life happens, so I am here to teach pet parents what to do when it does,” explained Ortiz, a certified pet first aid and CPR instructor.

“Valentine’s Day is popular for proposals and jewelry in general. Whatever clever way you decide to gift your lady or man with bling (in the bottom of a champagne glass, topping tiramisu, tied to the collar of a plush dog toy), make sure it doesn’t end up inside your pet, or you’ll spend the remainder of the holiday looking for a “deposit” in the backyard, or worse, having your pet choke or needing the jewelry surgically removed.”

Some of Ortiz’s tips:

Artificial Sweeteners

If a friend or loved one is counting calories, oblige with low-calorie treats, but make double dog sure that nothing with xylitol touches canine lips. This artificial sweetener can cause a sudden drop in a dog’s blood sugar, resulting in seizures, coma and liver failure.

Yummy Smells

Whether it be plant life or cologne, keep out of paw’s reach. Sift through bouquets to remove any dangerous flora before your pet gets near. 

Trim thorns off roses, and when gifting cat lovers, hold the lilies. Ingesting only two leaves or petals from a true lily (i.e. Asiatic lilies, peace lilies, daylilies and lily of the valley) can result in a fatality. 

As for making yourself smell dreamy, perfume is made from essential oils. 

Pets may sample a taste off your wrist but just a lick could make a small animal queasy. 

Anytime your pet isn’t quite right, call your veterinary professional at once.

Open flames

Candles and fireplaces can be romantic, but not if pets get near. Table tops and shelves are not safe from high-vaulting felines or counter surfing pooches. 

Use with caution.

Gift Giving

Quick clean-up of ribbons and bows is your best bet to prevent a choking incident or intestinal blockage. If the gift-giving includes an actual puppy or kitten, make sure it is a gift the recipient is prepared for.

Adding a fur friend to the family is a life-long commitment and should be chosen by the caregiver, so a gift certificate to adopt from your local animal shelter on your friend’s time schedule might be a better option.


Toast your sweetheart, not your pet.

Keep paws and tongues off adult beverages. Lapping up a small spill, or even licking out a wine glass could spell trouble for a furry best friend. 

This includes marijuana which can be found in brownies, chocolates, gummies and even lotions. Although CBD, which does not contain psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), is showing positive benefits for pets, marijuana is dangerous and even deadly.

To learn more about keeping your pet safe visit wecarefor for class dates in the Tri-state.


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