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Saint Valentines Day
Animal Expert Pet Safety Tips

Learn pet safety tips for St. Valentine's Day. Animal expert, Diana L. Guerrero shares valentine pet safety hints and alternative gifts for Valentine's Day.

Animal Safety Alert:
Valentine's Pet Hazards and Alternatives

Pet precautions should be taken during the Valentine's Day celebrations according to animal behaviorist, Diana L. Guerrero. "Pets, like kids, love to get into forbidden goodies. Unfortunately, pets raiding the chocolate supply can face needless suffering-or death," she said.

Guerrero is an animal behaviorist who writes columns on wild animal behavior, training, and animal etiquette. She is contributing editor to Resources for Crisis Management in Zoos and Other Animal Care Facilities and is the author of the animal lovers' favorites, What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild and Tame Creatures and Blessing of the Animals: A Guide to Prayers & Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures.

Each spring animal clinics and hospitals see an increase in visits during the springtime holidays. Valentine's Day and Easter pose the greatest hazards to critters living with chocolate lovers. A bit of caution can save the life of your critter.

"Chocolate is toxic to animals and if enough is ingested it can create complications or kill an animal." Guerrero said. Symptoms from chocolate ingestion include hyperactivity, tremors, racing heartbeat, and seizures. Damage to the liver can also occur and is not so obvious. Guerrero added, "It is risky to leave boxes of candy out anywhere in the house. As little as four ounces is enough to kill a ten pound dog or cat."

Many flowers and plants can be toxic so Guerrero encourages pet owners to check with their veterinarians for a complete list for dogs, cats, or birds and urges pet parents to keep seasonal items out of the reach of critters.

"Animals love to explore with their mouths and make playthings out of everything so expect the worst and keep those lovely gifts and treats out of reach." Guerrero suggests.

The animal behaviorist's hazard list also includes alcoholic beverages and wrapping items. Cellophane, ribbons, balloons, and other festive wrappings or decorations can be ingested and cause complications or death.

The behaviorist also mentioned that candlelight dinners are romantic--just make sure that pets are not be left unsupervised around flames.

Guerrero's helpful hints for sharing St. Valentine's Day with your pets:

  • Provide pet appropriate treats to occupy your critters pets during your celebrations. Heart shaped treats or a special pet food item can be appropriate.
  • Give those pampered pets a new toy or pet specialty item. Heart shaped pet tags are an appropriate and useful gift!
  • Spend quality time with your pets. Schedule a "pet spa day" and indulge your critter. Better yet, go out for a long hike or cuddle up.

Don't have a pet? Not a problem. Be a sweetie and take donations to your favorite pet charity.


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