Valentine’s Day, dogs and chocolate: Five common but easy to avoid risks for dogs

Valentine’s Day, dogs and chocolate: Five common but easy to avoid risks for dogs

Health & Safety

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and whilst not everyone is a huge fan of it, couples that do celebrate (or those hoping to tell a secret crush how they feel) often do so with a gift, and of course, chocolate is one of the most obvious gifts we think of when we start planning what to buy in order to impress.

While most of us would be delighted to receive a large, fancy box of chocolates as a Valentine’s Day gift, it is important to make sure that your dog – or the dog of the person you’re planning to give them to – doesn’t get their paws on them instead!

Few things would ruin Valentine’s Day for the average couple faster than having to make an emergency trip to the vet because the dog is sick, and if you’re trying to impress someone who isn’t your partner but that you’re hoping might want the job, accidentally poisoning their pooch is probably not the best approach to take.

If you don’t own a dog of your own, you might not even realise that chocolate is poisonous to dogs; and even if you do own a dog and know very well that chocolate is a problem, you might not be aware of how Valentine’s Day can pose a risk to your dog’s health via chocolate in ways that can be hard to predict.

Based on data collated by pet insurance companies in the UK, the Christmas period is the busiest time of the year in veterinary clinics for chocolate poisoning in dogs; followed by Easter, and then Valentine’s Day in third place. This is because these three times of year are the times when chocolate is prolific, heavily promoted, and traditionally exchanged; and because things surrounding our buying and eating of it are a bit different to the norm too.

In order to ensure that your dog doesn’t fall foul of the Valentine’s Day chocolate and that you don’t accidentally harm your intended’s dog in your haste to show how much they mean to you, this article will share five common ways in which dogs can come into contact with chocolate on Valentine’s Day, with advice on how to avoid them!

Don’t leave a box of chocolates for your other half as a surprise

If you and your partner celebrate Valentine’s Day, wondering what they might get for you is half of the fun! Many couples like to leave gifts as a surprise for their other half… Perhaps a box of chocolates on their pillow, or waiting on the kitchen table for when they get home from work.

However, if the surprise in question is that the dog got to the goodies first and now needs to go to the vet pronto, well, you’re evening probably won’t be ending as planned.

Don’t leave chocolate as a surprise in a room that the dog can get into, or a room that your other half might let the dog into without checking it first!

Don’t post chocolate to a home with a dog

If your want send your partner a delivery of chocolate, if you don’t live with your partner and want to send them a gift, or if you’re trying to surprise someone who isn’t your partner at all, don’t post them chocolate that could be put through the letterbox if they have a dog. The only exception to this is if you know for sure the back of the letterbox is caged in to prevent the dog from getting to the mail!

If you post chocolates and the dog can get to the mail, they’ll sniff it out and may dig in.

Mind the bins

So there were a couple of chocolates in the box you received that you didn’t like, you have dietary restrictions that mean you couldn’t eat them, or you just dislike the person who sent the box to you so much that you’re binning the whole thing… Be careful that your dog can’t get into that bin!

Your dog will almost certainly like any type of chocolate, and will have no qualms about eating an offering from that weird guy in accounting who lives with his mother and collects dolls, so take care about how you dispose of any chocolates you’re not eating.

Be careful outside in the streets

Valentine’s Day isn’t like other holidays in that there tends to be a lot of rubbish and discarded food in the street; Halloween tends to see a lot of dropped candy, and Christmas often means bin bags left outside for long periods of time, both of which can be hazardous to your dog.

However, do take care the day after Valentine’s Day itself to keep an eye out for discarded chocolate, and to keep check on what windfalls your dog might be finding in the park when they’re scavenging and running around on their own.

Don’t leave chocolate unattended

Finally, whether you’re sharing your box of chocolates with your partner or planning to wait for an evening when they’re out to curl up on the sofa and work your way through the whole box without having to share, don’t leave them unattended!

Even if you’re just nipping into the kitchen for a moment, the average dog could absolutely neck a whole open box of chocolates, wrappings and all, in under 30 seconds and they might even go to town on an unopened box if they have sufficient opportunity too.

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