Kris Hill from the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) advises suitors this Valentine’s Day (and any day!) to be mindful of their love’s beloved pets.
Avoid heartache this Valentine’s Day by ensuring the flowers you send your loved one are not dangerous to any of their companion animals.
Toxic or Deadly?
Many plants are toxic to cats and dogs to varying degrees, and owners should be aware of possible dangers and signs of ingestion. Some plants are more dangerous than others and should be avoided at all costs. The safest is to only chose flowers that are deemed pet safe.
Cat’s Protection have made a handy list of cut flowers commonly used in bouquets and coded the ones that are safe, ones that should be avoided, and those where some caution is advised.
There are also retailers who can help you choose pet-friendly bouquets. Cat’s Protection has a list of online retailers who offer pet-safe flower arrangements.
Lilies are Lethal. The most dangerous plant to cats is the lily. All parts are toxic, and death can occur from cats licking the pollen off their fur. If treatment is delayed longer than 18 hours after ingestion, the outcome is often fatal.
If you suspect your cat may have ingested any part of the lily plant, please seek advice from your vet immediately.
Although more severe in cats, lilies, including Asiatic lilies and daylilies, are also highly toxic to dogs. See here for a guide on identifying Lilies to Avoid.
For more advice and resources on houseplants and garden plants and cats see here. And for dogs, see here. For a more comprehensive list of toxic and safe plants for cats, dogs, and horses, check out the ASPCA site.
Keep the lid on the box of chocolates!
Although more severe in dogs, chocolate is poisonous to both cats and dogs. In larger doses it can be lethal.
Chocolates should be kept out of reach of cats and dogs. However, dogs can move fast where food on the floor is concerned. If your pet accidentally ingests chocolate, try to ascertain how much, and contact your emergency vet if necessary.
While NOT intended to replace veterinary advice, this calculator can help determine the best course of action if your cat or dog has ingested a small quantity of chocolate.
If in doubt, contact a vet ASAP.
Graciously rejecting toxic gifts!
What to do if your lover sends you lilies or other items that are dangerous to your beloved cat or dog?
If you are in a serious relationship, your partner will likely have already met and (hopefully) bonded with your beloved cat or dog. They will not wish them any harm.
However, if you are at the beginning of a relationship your Valentine might not be aware of the dangers lilies and chocolates pose to cats and dogs. No one wants to appear ungrateful, but maybe this is the perfect opportunity to find out if they are ‘the one’! If they care about you (and animals) they will not want harm to come to those you already love. And will not take it personally if you do not bring the flowers home (perhaps you can keep them in your office instead!).
SCAS is the UK’s leading human-companion animal bond organisation through funding research, providing education, raising awareness, encouraging best practice, and influencing the development of policies and practices that support the human-companion animal bond. For more details check out our website at www.scas.org.uk