Spoil (and protect) all your loved ones this Valentines Day

by | Feb 13, 2023

First, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way and then move on to all the lovely things you can do to make your pet happy this February! 

Lilies are pretty, but especially not for our cats

Whilst receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day from a loved one is very sweet and romantic, those of us that have pets at home must be extra diligent to ensure that these pretty blooms don’t make our best friends ill.  The most common toxic flower that is seen in homes are lilies which are particularly harmful to our feline friends.  Absolutely any amount of the lily that has been ingested by your cat (this includes the pollen, water, flower and stem) is very likely to cause acute kidney damage and if left untreated, can result in death.

Cats will not necessarily show signs of toxicity straight away, but two to three days after ingestion, they may show symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, not wanting to eat and excessive drooling.  If you remotely suspect your cat has come into even indirect contact with a lily in your house, please contact your local veterinarian immediately for advice.

Dogs who ingest a lily plant will not experience kidney failure like their feline counterparts, however they may experience minor gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhoea.  If you are concerned about your buddy, be sure to call your vet.

A delicious but deadly treat

Chocolate toxicity is also a huge risk around this time of year as these sweet snacks often appear as gifts, if we are lucky enough to receive them that is!  Though the amount and type of chocolate and the weight of your dog are all dependent factors on the level of toxicity that may occur, it is always best to call your vet to ascertain what needs to be done.  Time is critical once your dog has ingested chocolate, so please be sure to call us to ensure what further steps need to be taken, if any.  If we conclude that your dog has eaten a toxic dose, we will generally recommending coming straight in to induce vomiting and will advise on any further treatment if required.

Some of the signs of chocolate toxicity include; vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, tachycardia (increased heartrate), hyperexcitement, lethargy and dullness.  In severe cases, symptoms can include muscle tremors, seizures and heart failure. The ingestion of chocolate can be fatal and it is important that correct treatment is always pursued through a veterinarian.

OK! On to the good stuff!

10 ways to spoil your pet this Valentine’s Day!

Make a “coffee” date

Try finding a local café or restaurant that is pet friendly, some may even serve specialised doggy treats and puppicinos!  You’ll be able to stop and have a coffee as well whilst also making sure they feel extra special.

Buy or make them a special treat

If you are savvy in the kitchen and love cooking, whip up some pet friendly treats for your dog or cat.  Be sure to look at animal specific recipes and choose the low/no salt or sugar version of any ingredient.    If you want to splash out, plenty of markets and pet stores offer lovely homemade treats that are gorgeous and totally safe for your fur baby.

Whatever treats you do end up giving your pet, be sure not to overdo it!  Everything in moderation to avoid weight gain, and the last thing you want is an emergency vet visit on the day if they become unwell!

Doggy Day care

Planning a day trip with your two legged someone that isn’t exactly dog friendly? If your pup likes to play with other dogs, it is a great time to really treat them by letting them stay at a doggy day care and have a whole day of activities and fun with some canine pals.  You can then relax and enjoy your day not having to feel guilty because you left your buddy at home alone!

Spend time away, go for a hike or a day trip

Whether you want to get out of town for a few days or just spend a quality few hours away from home, outdoor time is the perfect way to set you and your pup free. A nice hike or camping trip is perfect for the outdoor types with active dogs looking for a cheap vacation, but even just a few extra throws of your dog’s favourite toy at the park will make them feel loved and cared for.  What better way to spend quality time with your dog (or adventure cat) than spending it outdoors? Get outside; go for a long walk on their favourite route and let them take their time, take a fun hike somewhere new, or visit the dog park (or their favourite park, if you’ve got an adventurous cat with you).

Retail therapy

If neither you nor your pooch enjoy spending too much time outdoors, perhaps shopping will hit the spot. Most of us are dying for excuses to buy new treats and toys for our pets, so Valentine’s Day is the perfect time! We can splurge on new pet gear, toys, treats and even a spa day if appropriate!

Arrange a Playdate with their Best Bud 

If your four legged friends are lucky enough to have a mate that they love to play with, what could be better than getting to watch them hang out all day and expend all their energy, whilst you also get to spend time with close friends too!

 Get them professionally groomed or do it yourself 

Not all pets like getting groomed, but if this is your pet’s speed and doesn’t happen on the daily, then grab that brush, pull up a chair and watch as they melt from the blissful pampering!  If they need something a little bit more upmarket and don’t mind a trip to the groomer, be sure to book them in ahead of time to snag an appointment on the day.

Buy or make a Puzzle Feeder

Consider giving your pet a puzzle feeder this year or try making one yourself at home! Puzzle feeders make your pet use their brain a little more to eat their food and are a great boredom buster. There are many options available online, but you may have some items at home that will work as well for a DIY version for your cat or dog. A cupcake pan is a common household that can be used and is a good starter puzzle feeder for novice pets. Just drop bits of food into each cupcake holder and let the fun begin! And let’s not forget about our feline friends who may feel the need to “hunt” for their food. There are cute little mouse feeders you can fill with food and hide around your house for your kitty to find throughout the day.

Plant an Indoor “Garden”

Instead of bringing home a bouquet that may contain toxic flowers like lilies, consider growing some cat grass as a treat for your feline friends. This way your kitty can safely munch on some grass and you don’t have to worry about what they may be getting into!

Create an activity jar

Treat them to a whole year of activities.  All you need is a jar, paper and a pen. Write your pet’s favourite activities on small pieces of paper and put these notes in the jar. Then, whenever you’re looking for something to do, pick one out and do that activity.  It’s a lovely way to set up a whole year of spontaneous activities with your furry friends.

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