Valentine’s Day – Toxic Foods for Pets

As Valentine’s Day approaches many yummy candies and foods will find their way into our homes. You know the ones I’m talking about….. they typically come in those adorable little heart-shaped boxes. For us, those wonderful treats are an amazing delight, however, they can also be toxic foods for pets.

Chocolate is probably the most common toxin. It contains methylxanthines which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines. The most dangerous is baking chocolate, it contains the highest amount of the toxin.

Outside of chocolate, there are many other toxic foods that we see around Valentine’s Day. They are grapes and raisins, nuts (macadamia nuts are the worst), and coconut or coconut oil. Lastly, let us not forget about those alcoholic beverages and things with the artificial sweetner Xylitol.

• Grapes and Raisins – cause kidney failure.
• Nuts (including almonds, pecans, and walnuts) – cause vomiting, diarrhea and potentially pancreatitis.
• Macadamia nuts – cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. They can also cause neurological signs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last 12-48 hours.
• Coconut and Coconut Oil – cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea (Coconut Water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet).
• Alcohol – causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
• Xylitol – Anything with this sweetener can cause low blood glucose and/or liver failure. Initial signs are vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and seizures. Liver failure can start within a few days.

Let’s give our furry friends a safe, love-filled Valentine’s Day….

There are many other things that are toxic to our furry friends. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions if your little one has ingested a potentially toxic food, plant, or other agent.

Information courtesy of and Shippensburg Animal Hospital (717) 500-2072.