Valentine's gifts may be hazardous to pets

Feb. 13, 2012 at 1:18 AM
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MIAMI, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Many of the more traditional Valentine's Day gifts can be harmful to pets, especially chocolate, U.S. pet experts said.

The pet health Web site petMD said most people know chocolate is bad for dogs -- it causes a rapid heart rate, among other problems. However, not everyone might be aware baking chocolate is especially toxic.

"While an M&M or two may not do any harm, a dog or cat that snatches a large chunk of baking chocolate from the counter may end up in an animal hospital emergency room," perMD officials said.

"It is essential to keep all chocolates out of your pet's reach. Yes, even that last raspberry-filled nugget from the assorted box of chocolates no one ever seems to want."

The pet experts also advise to:

-- Skip the candygram: Sugar-free candies and gums often contain large amounts of xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to pets, especially dogs. If ingested, it may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures or, in severe cases, liver failure in dogs.

-- A rose could cause trouble. It only takes a nibble to cause a severe allergic reaction in dogs and cats. Even small amounts could lead to upset stomachs or vomiting.

-- Think long and hard about giving a puppy or kitten to a Valentine. Pets are a long-term responsibility and their adoption should not be made in haste.

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