With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, you may have a lot of sweet treats, especially chocolates, around the house, ready to give to your loved ones. But it’s especially important to keep in mind during this time of year just how dangerous chocolate, even in small amounts, can be to your pets. No matter how much you want to show your furry friends that you love them, don’t do it with chocolate, as tempting as it may be.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, even small amounts of theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate, can cause vomiting and restlessness in pets. While most pet owners expect a dog to develop an upset stomach after eating a large amount of chocolate, few realize its toxic potential and that large doses can in fact be fatal.
If an accident does occur, a veterinarian should be consulted right away. Treatment may require inducing vomiting, stabilizing the animal’s heartbeat and respiration, controlling seizures and slowing the absorption of theobromine. If the animal is already comatose, its stomach may need to be pumped.
Instead of putting your pet’s heath in jeopardy this Valentine’s Day by giving in to the temptation of feeding them a piece of your chocolate, consider these natural sweet treats that are safe for your pet to eat: sweet root vegetables such as parsnip, rutabaga, sweet potato and carrot; fresh and dried fruits including apples, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries; pure honey, which can be used as a sweetener or as a treat on its own; and nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts (including salt-free peanut butter), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and pine nuts.
Have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!