You either love it or you hate it but you can’t avoid it… Yes, Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us. Although it is a celebration of love there are many things associated with Valentine’s Day which are not so lovely  for our pets!


Many people like to give a chocolate gift to a loved one on Valentine’s Day but, chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats and even a very small amount of dark chocolate can cause symptoms such as vomiting and an increased heart rate. Animal PoisonLine can give you advice about how much chocolate is going to be a problem and whether your pet needs to be seen by the vet or whether you can stay at home, but as a general rule we recommend keeping ALL chocolate away from animals at all times, not just on February 14th.


Most people celebrating a romantic evening will indulge in some fine wine or spirits or even better – some bubbles in the form of Champagne or Prosecco! Make sure your pets don’t have access to any of these drinks though  as dogs and cats are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol and small amounts can cause them to be depressed and start vomiting. Most cases of alcohol poisoning need supportive care to get them through the worst of it – essentially like nursing a hangover. Of course it depends on the strength and form the alcohol comes in.  For example, spirits are more concentrated, some containing up to 60% alcohol – so if animals accidentally ingest any, they can become unwell very quickly. Call Animal PoisonLine to find out if your pet has had a toxic amount of alcohol – it is important that we know the strength of the alcohol being consumed. Don’t forget about those chocolate liquors too.


Valentine’s day is a time for giving gifts. Whilst some of us might be lucky enough to get diamonds this year, the rest of us will have to settle for flowers! There are some flowers which are very toxic to our pets, most commonly lilies and these are commonly found in cut flower bouquets. It is very important your cats do NOT come into contact with them as all parts of the plant are very poisonous (not just the pollen as is often thought) and they can cause kidney failure. So if you are thinking of giving a loved one who owns cat lilies, stick to the more traditional roses! If your cat has come into contact with a lily we would advise you contact your veterinary surgeon immediately and seek advice. Do not delay doing this even if your cat appears to be well.

Perfume and aftershave

These are both popular gifts on Valentine’s Day but they contain up to 90% ethanol (alcohol) which is over double the amount found in spirits such as vodka. The result is that they will show the same effects as with alcoholic drinks (see the ‘alcohol’ section above) but at much lower volumes.  Admittedly dog and cats will have more limited access to these products but even if they just lick a small amount they may start to feel unwell.

If you are worried your pet has eaten something they or been exposed to something they should not have, please call the Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509 000 for advice on what to do next. If your pet starts showing any signs, then take them to your local vet practice immediately for treatment. The sooner they are treated, the better the outcome.

Animal PoisonLine’s top tips

1.       Do not give lilies to anyone who owns a cat – stick to traditional roses instead!

2.       Do not leave any uneaten chocolate on low tables or on work surfaces where animals can reach it (especially dogs)

3.       Do not leave unfinished glasses of wine, spirits or bubbly on the floor where a curious cat or dog could drink from them – even a small amount may cause signs

4.       If perfume or aftershave spills, make sure your pets do not lick it off the floor