By now, most dog owners are aware that their pet can’t eat chocolate or drink alcohol or caffeine. However, there are plenty of other seemingly innocuous natural foods that are often fed as treats to dogs that can cause health issues. In this blog, we take a look at 4 natural foods which can be toxic to dogs and offer some safe alternatives.
Whilst a little bit of avocado probably won’t do any harm, too much avocado can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. This is due to persin, which is a naturally occurring fungicidal toxin present in the seed, skin and flesh of the avocado.
Dog friendly alternative: Sweet, creamy and full of vitamins, a little bit of banana as an occasional treat won’t cause any tummy upset.
Seemingly the perfect treat sized piece of fruit, grapes are actually toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Early signs of kidney failure to watch out for include repeated vomiting, sluggish behaviour and depression.
Dog friendly alternative: Equally compact and full of antioxidants, blueberries make a great replacement treat.
Raw meat, fish and eggs
Feeding dogs raw meat like they would eat in the wild is fine right? The flaw in this thinking is that the raw meat or eggs you feed to your dog comes from a supermarket and is therefore a potential carrier of disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli. Raw fish can also carry parasites which cause vomiting, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
Dog friendly alternative: Lean, cooked meat (never cooked bones) is fine as part of a balanced diet. Talk to your vet if you are considering putting your pet on a raw or home cooked diet as it is not suitable for all dogs.
Raw potato/raw sweet potato
It’s not just green potatoes! All parts of the raw potato and the potato plant contain glycoalkaloids called solanine and chaconine. These toxins can cause a range of symptoms in dogs including heart problems, breathing problems, gastrointestinal upset, nervous system tremors and kidney function disorders.
Dog friendly alternative: Raw carrots are sweet, tasty, safe and are packed full of vitamins.
Whilst our suggestion alternatives are all fine for your dog to eat, keep in mind that no more than 10% of your dog’s daily intake should come from treats. If you find your pet has eaten any of the toxic foods we have listed in this article, call Vets on Parker immediately on (03) 9850 1355 even if they are not displaying any symptoms of illness. Our Templestowe veterinary clinic team will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
As your dog gets older, its body will begin to change. In particular, your dog will become more susceptible to a range of health problems. This is why senior dogs require attentive care, extending all the way to their diets, which we are exploring today in this blog.
When is a dog considered ‘senior’?
Whether or not your dog is considered senior depends on a number of factors:
- Breed. Generally, smaller dogs tend to have a longer lifespan than bigger dogs.
- Lifestyle. A dog that is unhealthy and overweight will also age faster than one that gets plenty of exercise and good food.
Generally speaking, depending on the breed and size of your dog, dogs can start to be considered senior from anywhere between 5-9 years old. However, the only surefire way to know whether your dog is senior and needs senior care is by regularly visiting your local vet for checkups.
Dogs with gastrointestinal problems
If your dog is suffering from gastrointestinal issues – such as constipation or diarrhoea – then you should:
- Ensure you aren’t feeding your dog fatty foods or bones, as these items are generally not digested well
- Try and avoid treats
- Invest in fibre-rich food/additives (this helps both constipation and diarrhoea).
Dogs with dental issues
Steer clear of buying canned food for your senior dog, as it is sticky. The stickiness of the food means it can become lodged on or in between your dog’s teeth, which encourages the growth of plaque and tartar. Instead, purchase dry kibble that is suitable for senior dogs. The kibble scrapes against tartar and plaque and helps to remove it.
Dogs with kidney or heart disease
Does your dog have a form of kidney or heart disease? If so, you should avoid buying foods with excess salt and protein. Although there is no proof to suggest that doing so will prevent the disease altogether, avoiding these things will help ease the painful effects of the disease. Ensure your dog is also getting plenty of water.
As dogs age, their metabolism slows – not unlike humans. Slower metabolism means that it is easier for your dog to put on weight, and obesity can lead to a range of other health issues for your dog. The main things you should not be buying for your dog are treats and bones.
To combat your senior dog’s obesity, you should consult your local Bulleen vet, Vets on Parker. We offer a range of pet services, including weight management plans, dental care and surgery. Get in touch with a friendly Bulleen vet today on (03) 9850 1355.
When it comes to deciding between wet or canned food for your pet, there are a number of pros and cons on each side. However, the vets at our Bulleen veterinary clinic usually recommend dry food over wet food for both cats and dogs. Today we are explaining exactly why dry food is better for your pet than wet food.
The main benefit of wet food is that it can be recommended for dogs with health conditions such as kidney stones or struvite crystals.
There are, however, more downsides to wet food:
- Wet food has a shorter shelf life, meaning you’ll need to buy it more often and in smaller quantities, which can be inconvenient
- It is more expensive
- Wet food can be messy and stick in between teeth, which can be bad news for dental health
- Wet food can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea
Like canned food for dogs, wet cat food is hydrating and is sometimes recommended to cats that have the following:
- Kidney problems
- Lower urinary tract disease (as the diluted urine lessens the pain and/or frequency of symptoms)
The downsides to wet cat food are similar to that of canned dog food (listed above).
Dry dog food holds many more benefits than wet dog food. There are a number of benefits to dry kibble for dogs:
- It’s much easier to store, lasts longer and is more cost efficient
- Kibble helps to remove built-up tartar and plaque, which is better for your pet’s dental health
The only main downside to dry food (for both cats and dogs) is that it is not as hydrating as wet food. However, providing your pet with clean water does the trick just fine.
While dry food does not substitute for proper dental care, dry cat food is also commonly agreed to be better for your cat’s teeth than canned food. It is also more affordable and convenient than canned food, which is another plus point. Therefore, dry food is also better for your cat than canned food.
Got any more questions about dry and canned pet food? Vets on Parker can help with any concerns you might have, from feeding plans to dental care. Book an appointment at our Bulleen veterinary clinic today on (03) 9850 1355.
Taking your dog to the dog park can be rewarding for both of you. Interaction with other dogs is necessary for your pet’s social skills, while meeting other owners can be fun for you, too. But for the safety of your dog and others, there are some dog park etiquette tips you should keep in mind before going. Today, we are running through some basic tips that will help keep the dog park a fun place for everyone.
Always exercise your dog before going to the park
After being inside all day, there’s nothing better than going outside – right? Unsurprisingly, your dog definitely agrees. The park is filled with excitement in the form of other dogs, people and activities to finally interact with.
However, if your dog is little too excited, he or she can actually instigate a fight with another dog. To avoid this, allow your dog to let off some steam before hitting the park by exercising at home beforehand.
Always bring plastic bags
Keeping the area clean and hygienic is not only basic decency as an owner – it’s safer for the dogs in that environment. Other dogs can contract a number of diseases if they come into contact with your dog’s waste. Therefore, it is pertinent to keep plastic bags with you at the dog park, even if the park offers bags to visitors.
Make sure your dog is suitable for the park
The dog park is meant to be a safe place for dogs to play nicely with each other. For the health and safety of your dog and others, you should ensure your pet would be suitable to bring to a dog park so that it remains a safe place for everyone.
Avoid bringing your dog to the park if he or she is:
- A puppy
- Pregnant/on the heat
- Unvaccinated, or not up-to-date on vaccinations
- Not desexed
- Aggressive or possessive
Always pay attention to your dog
You know your dog best. At the dog park, it’s important to pay attention to your pet and notice when abnormal behaviour is occurring (particularly anti-social, shy or aggressive cues). Looking out for signs that your dog needs to be taken out of the park can even prevent a fight.
Searching for a vet in Bulleen? Vets on Parker are happy to help with any concerns you might have for your pet. Call us on (03) 9850 1355 to talk to our friendly staff today.
Winter is here!
Here are some handy tips on preparing your pets for another chilly Melbourne winter:
• Remember that even though your pet has a fur coat, they still feel the cold.
• Ensure your pet has a thick, insulated bed for chilly nights. If you’re unsure whether their bed is warm enough why not add a nice fuzzy blanket?
• For rabbits and guinea pigs, add some extra straw to their hutch and give them a protected box to make their bed in. Place a blanket or waterproof tarp over outdoor runs to help keep the weather out.
• Birds feel the cold too. Bring birds in cages inside or place them somewhere sheltered out of the wind and weather. A blanket can be placed over the cage at night to help keep the warmth in.
• If your pet is outside, ensure they have an area they that is out of the wind and protected from the rain with a dry clean floor. Providing access to food, water and a bed in this area is ideal.
• Dog kennels should always be placed against a fence or undercover to give them extra protection from the wind and rain.
• Warm up your pet’s meals. We all love a warm meal on a cold night so why shouldn’t our pets enjoy it too?
• Pet coats. There is a huge range of warm and stylish pet coats on the market. These are great for short haired dogs and older pets who struggle to insulate themselves from the cold.
• Remember that young animals can’t control their body temperatures the same way adult animals do, so you’ll need to keep them inside in cold weather.
• Older pets with arthritis often have flare ups in colder weather. Speak to us about natural supplements and dietary tweaks that can help keep them moving comfortably.