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Best and Worst Valentines for Your Dog

We love dogs. We love that they force us to stay active and give us an excuse to snuggle up and be lazy. We love that they listen, without judgment, for hours on end and that they insist on telling us about everything – EVERYTHING – that happens outside the window. We love that they’re willing to take on the huge UPS truck to protect us and still hide when it thunders. We love them despite (and maybe because of) their flaws, just as they love us.  


This Valentine’s Day, it’s estimated that 4% of dog owners will buy their best friends a gift of some sort to commemorate their relationship. We’re all for spreading the puppy love, but keep in mind, there are three things you should never give your dog and one thing you absolutely should!

Dr. Justine Lee, who is board certified in toxicology and emergency medicine, and is one of the Voyce experts, notes the most poisonous Valentine’s Day gifts to a dog include:

· Flower bouquets -- lilies, which are commonly used in floral arrangements, can cause gastrointestinal upset (and can cause severe acute kidney failure – or even death – in cats) 

· Balloons with ribbons –- if a ribbon is swallowed, it can wrap around internal organs like the base of the tongue and get stuck there, requiring expensive and traumatic surgery.

· Chocolate –- dogs may beg for it, but it can cause gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and/or neurological issues. The darker the chocolate, the more poisonous it is.

While bouquets or a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates were probably not on the list of items being considered for your pup, these are popular Valentine’s gifts that your dog might have access to over the next few days, so it’s important to be aware of the effects.

As Dr. Lee advises, “"For once, boyfriends or husbands should skimp on getting the flowers! If he does order anything, make sure it's a pet-safe bouquet of just roses instead."

If you are worried your dog may have gotten into one of these items, contact your veterinarian immediately.  Rapid treatment offers the best chance for resolution.

What’s the one thing you absolutely should give? Gifts of toys and treats are nice, but what is most meaningful to your dog is your time. Take an extra hour on Valentine’s Day to spend some quality time playing, snuggling, or interacting with your best friend. To him, that means “I love you.” 


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