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Welcome to our blog about animal rescue, pet parenting, adoptions, foster care, and ethical products.

Can Dogs Eat White Chocolate?

The short answer: It is not recommended. The long answer: Though not as potent as milk or dark chocolate, white chocolate still contains the component theobromine, which is harmful for dogs. The poison levels vary depending on your dog’s size, how many grams of chocolate he consumes, and what kind of chocolate he eats in Read More...

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The short answer: It is not recommended.

The long answer: Though not as potent as milk or dark chocolate, white chocolate still contains the component theobromine, which is harmful for dogs. The poison levels vary depending on your dog’s size, how many grams of chocolate he consumes, and what kind of chocolate he eats in one go. The darker and less sweet the chocolate is, the more harmful it is for your pooch. 

In the case of white chocolate, your pooch needs to eat a substantial amount to suffer from chocolate toxicity. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even heart attack. Feeding your dog white chocolate can also result in long-term health problems such as pancreatitis, diabetes, weight gain, and/or urinary tract infection.

What to do if your dog accidentally eats white chocolate: A small piece of white chocolate won’t harm your dog. For larger amounts, observe him for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, severe agitation, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and collapse. Take him to the emergency clinic if he exhibits any of these symptoms, so the vet can treat him accordingly.

However, if he consumed white chocolate mixed with nuts, identify which nuts were present in the bar and call your veterinarian immediately. Walnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts contain toxic elements that should not be consumed by your dog. 


In summary:
If you’re thinking of giving your dog a sweet treat, you’re better off giving him naturally sweet fruits such as apples, bananas, strawberries, and mangoes. Though the theobromine content in white chocolate is not as worrisome as milk or dark chocolate, its fat and sugar levels can still create lasting health complications for your pooch.

References:

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dogs Should Never Eat

Can Dogs Eat White Chocolate?

Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can Eat

Is Chocolate Poisonous to Dogs?

dog walks nsw bidjigal reserve

Sydney dog-friendly walks: Bidjigal reserve NSW

We love dog-friendly bushwalks more than your average dog family and Bidjigal Reserve did not disappoint. Last month when Waldo had spent a few too many sullen Saturdays giving us third degree guilt stares, we decided to venture out and find a new walk that satisfied our tried and tested dog walking criteria: The bushwalk Read More...

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We love dog-friendly bushwalks more than your average dog family and Bidjigal Reserve did not disappoint. Last month when Waldo had spent a few too many sullen Saturdays giving us third degree guilt stares, we decided to venture out and find a new walk that satisfied our tried and tested dog walking criteria:

  1. The bushwalk must be mostly shaded since hot rocks aren’t great for puppy paws.
  2. There must be access to picnic tables and grounds with toilets and facilities; nothing extravagant but no bush toilets for this family amidst all other 2020 challenges please.
  3. A short drive of no more than 45 minutes from our home in the Inner West.
  4. A dog-friendly trail where locals are welcoming toward dogs.
  5. On-leash rules that are respected, as these trails are narrow and could lead to unwanted attention from dogs who are still being socialised.

Overall, from a few searches and reviews online, we decided that the Bidjigal Reserve in Sydney’s Hills district was a great option for a two-three hour weekend walk. So we put on our hiking shoes, packed some essentials (listed below) and hit the road.

  • water
  • sandwiches
  • a collapsible water bowl
  • some kibble and treats
  • leash and collar
  • battery pack
  • sunscreen

The drive to Bidjigal Reserve

This short drive took us just over 40 minutes (from Leichhardt) at around 11am on Saturday. The route is comfortable, no surprises there. The approach to Bidjigal, however, can get a little confusing as you either land in a playing field or smack amongst some residential streets. Don’t let that phase you and follow the pin. We promise you’ll suddenly emerge into a picnic bench clearing. Be mindful of Fox poison signs. We’re not sure how old these are, but one sign was enough for us to watch like hawks every time Waldo tried to grab and eat anything during the walk.

What to expect

A very relaxed, pleasant, clean and friendly walk with lots of dogs on leashes with lovely locals and tourists alike. This walk may be crowded in a post-Covid 19 world, but we don’t know when that’ll be so for now – we’d say this is as good as it gets on a Saturday. We walked past maybe two groups every 10-15 minutes, and the picnic benches had about three other groups seated when we finished the track.

How many tracks does the reserve have?

There’s something for everyone. Biidjigal Reserve’s tracks are:

  • The Murri-Yanna Track, which we believe is the longest at about 8kms. While it’s estimated at about three to four hours, we wouldn’t quite walk it with a dog that sniffs 20 things for every two steps. But if your dog is a more diligent walker than ours, check out the start at Whitbread  Place, North  Rocks  to  Heidi Place, West Pennant Hills. Expect to hug the creek for most of it.
  • The Burraga Track, which is under 5km and estimated at about two hours. Check your map for the closest access point from whichever direction you arrive from: whether Baulkham  Hills, Castle Hill or West Pennant Hills. This is meant to be quite beautiful and worth it if you don’t have any agenda for the rest of the day and are happy to do some exploring.
  • The Platypus Track – this is the shortest of the three tracks and the one we did (all the photos in this post are from this track). It starts on the Castle Hill end and meanders around the creek for 1.7kms. It should have taken us one hour but Waldo had some friends he wanted to sniff, so we had quite the leisurely walk for about two hours, including a lunch stop.

Dog-walking etiquette

While we did get a few squeals from some couples who weren’t there with dogs, we were happy to note that none of them tried to pet Waldo without permission. This is important to his continued training and is well appreciated (by us and him).

We were also happy to see that young kids on the track did not try to grab Waldo even though at times they were close enough to give it a go. Was it a wonderful coincidence that we only encountered considerate dog-walkers, dogs and non-dog walking humans? Perhaps, but we hope it’s the norm. Here’s a great post to read and pass along if you’re keen to know the right method to greeting a dog.

If you’re interested in reading about more dog-friendly walks in NSW as you and your best friend make it through these uncertain times, read our weekend pet guides; especially this post on Sydney’s 8 dog-friendly walks and parks.

Bidjigal reserve sydney

Can Dogs Eat Seaweed?

The short answer: It depends. The long answer: Seaweed is the common name for several species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae that are packed with iodine, iron, and potassium. Whether in the form of kelp or nori (dried Japanese seaweed), seaweed is a safe snack for dogs to eat as long as they don’t contain Read More...

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The short answer: It depends.

The long answer: Seaweed is the common name for several species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae that are packed with iodine, iron, and potassium. Whether in the form of kelp or nori (dried Japanese seaweed), seaweed is a safe snack for dogs to eat as long as they don’t contain salt or spices that are harmful for him. Unseasoned nori sheets can actually be used as dog training treats, while kelp can be found in pet supplements.      

On the other hand, dried wild seaweed should not be eaten by your dog while you are by the seashore. These may contain too much salt, foreign bodies (such as a hidden jellyfish), and unknown pollutants that could cause him harm. When consumed, the seaweed can also expand in your pooch’s belly and cause him pain. Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are some of the common symptoms of wild seaweed poisoning. 

How to feed seaweed to your dog: Try serving your pup a small piece or amount of seaweed, and watch how his body handles it. It is recommended that you serve the seaweed in ground form. When feeding nori, check the package to make sure the sheets do not contain high amounts of salt or ingredients such as onions and garlic. Cut up the sheets into smaller one-inch squares to control his consumption. 

Do not feed him unprocessed seaweed strips because these may cause blockage in his digestive system.  

Here are three ideas for seaweed treats your dog will love:

  1. Boost your pooch’s immune system with banana kelp treats
  2. Place a sprinkle of seaweed supplement over your dog’s food.
  3. Add flavour to your homemade chicken jerky with nori.   

In summary: Talk to your veterinarian to make sure your dog can safely eat seaweed. Added to his diet, seaweed can be a great source of iron, magnesium, iodine, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. While strolling on the beach, keep your canine on a leash to prevent him from munching on dried wild seaweed.

References: 

Can Dogs Eat This? The Ultimate Guide To 105 Food Items

10 Super Foods For You and Your Dog

Can My Dog Eat Seaweed?

Can Dogs Eat Squash?

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: An aid for stool stiffening, squash is a natural produce that your dog can safely consume. It contains high amounts of beta-carotene (promotes eye health), manganese (boosts bone strength and helps the body process fats and carbohydrates), as well as vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, fiber, riboflavin, Read More...

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The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: An aid for stool stiffening, squash is a natural produce that your dog can safely consume. It contains high amounts of beta-carotene (promotes eye health), manganese (boosts bone strength and helps the body process fats and carbohydrates), as well as vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. These vitamins and minerals help improve your dog’s digestion, vision, and immune system

How to feed squash to your dog: Squash should be washed properly with the seeds and skin removed to prevent choking. Slice the squash into smaller bite-sized pieces, and cook it before feeding it to your pet. That way, he’ll be able to digest it properly. 

Turn your squash into soup, spaghetti, and other culinary concoctions. Do not add any sugar, salt, butter, or other herbs and spices (onions and garlic, to name a few) that may be harmful for him.  

Here are three ideas for squash treats your dog will love:

  1. Create homemade dog food with quinoa, blueberries, and butternut squash.
  2. Boil and mash a few pieces of squash for him, then top it over his meal.
  3. Make a fun “turdoggen” by following this video. Recreate it using butternut squash, zucchini, carrot, oatmeal, and egg.

In summary: Usually mistaken as a vegetable, squash is a sweet-tasting fruit that your dog can consume on a regular basis. It is packed with vitamins and minerals that will aid his immune, digestive, and nervous systems. Consult with your veterinarian before feeding it to your canine. Let your dog try a small, cooked, unseasoned piece, and observe how his body reacts to it in the next 24 hours. If your pooch has constipation issues, it’s best to limit his squash consumption. 

References: 

Can Dogs Eat This? The Ultimate Guide To 105 Food Items

Can My Dog Eat Butternut Squash?

What You Should Know Before Feeding Your Dog Squash!

What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Is Squash a Fruit or Vegetable?

Can Dogs Eat Salt?

The short answer: No. The long answer: An ingredient commonly used to add flavour to human food, salt is a tasty mineral that should be kept away from curious dogs at all times. The salty condiment can make your dog extremely dehydrated, make him want to pee repeatedly, cause severe stomach inflammation, create electrolyte imbalances, Read More...

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The short answer: No.

The long answer: An ingredient commonly used to add flavour to human food, salt is a tasty mineral that should be kept away from curious dogs at all times. The salty condiment can make your dog extremely dehydrated, make him want to pee repeatedly, cause severe stomach inflammation, create electrolyte imbalances, or even cause sodium ion poisoning. Severe dehydration makes your dog’s brain cells shrink, rupture, and create hemorrhages, while stomach inflammation leads to vomiting and diarrhea. 

Avoid feeding your dog all types of salt and any food flavoured with it (hotdog and pizza, to name a few!). Items found at home such as homemade play/salt dough, paintballs, enema solutions, rock salt, and salt lamps should also be kept away from them. Remember that just a ⅓ cup of salt (about 113 grams) can be lethal for a 50-pound dog

What to do if your dog accidentally eats salt: Watch for the following symptoms: vomiting, lack of energy, large amounts of thirst, damaged kidneys, seizures, coma, diarrhea, depression, tremors, and high temperature. In extreme situations, salt poisoning may even cause death. If you think your dog ate salt, call your veterinarian immediately and take him to the emergency animal clinic. Salt poisoning is often treated with intravenous fluid regulation and monitoring of hydration levels. 


In summary:
Salt is poisonous for dogs. Keep your four-legged friend safe by properly storing salt in tightly lidded containers, and not giving them access to your pantry. Do not give your dog table scraps that may contain salt and other toxic ingredients (such as garlic or onions), or you might end up taking a costly trip to the veterinarian. 

References:

Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dogs Should Never Eat

The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs

Salt Toxicity

How to Tell If Your Cat is Pregnant [7 Ways to Find Out]

Did you know that unspayed female cats can get pregnant as soon as they turn four to six months old? They are known to be “induced ovulators,” releasing eggs due to external stimuli such as the physical act of mating or mechanical stimulation. A female cat can go into heat every two to three weeks Read More...

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Did you know that unspayed female cats can get pregnant as soon as they turn four to six months old? They are known to be “induced ovulators,” releasing eggs due to external stimuli such as the physical act of mating or mechanical stimulation. A female cat can go into heat every two to three weeks from spring to early fall, with her gestation period lasting around three months (63 to 65 days). 

If you suspect that your unspayed cat is pregnant, there are 7 ways to confirm her state. However, you won’t be able to see these marked changes until two to three weeks after she procreates:

1 Her nipples are enlarged and pinkish in colour.

Also called “pinking up,” your cat’s nipples have changed from their usual colour and turned pink or red. The nipples have noticeably grown in size, and sometimes, the hair around them have lessened to give clearer access to milk feeding.

2 Your cat is experiencing morning sickness.

Whether it’s puking what she eats or a marked lack of appetite, some cats may experience morning sickness during the first few weeks of their pregnancy. The changes in her uterus as well as the surge of hormones may cause her to feel exhausted and sleep longer. 

3 She has a larger tummy and a swayback posture.

Starting around the fifth week of pregnancy, your cat’s tummy will become unmistakably round until it’s time for her to give birth to her litter. Due to the added ball-shaped weight in her belly, her spine may bend, causing the back to sink and develop the “mule look.”  

4 Her body weight and appetite have increased. 

Pregnant cats carry an average of four kittens in one litter, so it’s no surprise that her intake of food will increase by 50 percent. She should be fed specialised, high-quality pregnant cat food rich in protein, vitamins, and omega-6 that will nourish the growing kittens in her belly. Unsurprisingly, she will also gain two to four pounds throughout the course of her pregnancy.

5 She becomes extra affectionate or territorial.

Changing moods can also be a sign of pregnancy in female cats. Some cats become more affectionate, while others turn into highly territorial creatures. If she frequently purrs and seeks out your attention, be sure to reciprocate her actions. If she becomes distant toward you (or even your other pets), give her the space she wants while making sure her needs are being met.  

6 Your cat is queening.

Queening is the term for cats about to go into labor. During this time (around two weeks before her due date), your cat searches for a comfortable place where she can give birth. Help her secure a safe, quiet, and warm place inside your house. More importantly, be ready to provide her with a birthing box filled with shredded newspaper, blankets, or towels. To encourage your cat to sleep in it, place her drinking and feeding dishes and litter box next to it. 

7 Take her to the veterinarian.

Confirm your cat is pregnant by taking her to the veterinarian for an ultrasound (to see if she’s really pregnant) or an X-ray (to discover how many kittens to expect). Note that viruses may be passed on to unborn kittens, so make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Discuss what special considerations need to be taken, so that your cat may be relaxed and comfortable throughout her gestation. 

When your cat goes into nesting mode, take her to the vet once more to make sure everything is in order. Get advice on pre- and post-delivery procedures, as well as what to do in case emergencies arise. Two telltale signs that your cat is ready to give birth is that she stops eating for 24 hours, and her temperature drops below 100°F.

In conclusion

Unless unavoidable, have your kitten spayed before her first heat or before she reaches five months of age. Spaying prevents unnecessary births (cats can have four litters per year, so just imagine taking care of all those kittens!) as well as the possibility of uterine infections and breast tumors. Consult with your veterinarian about the best time to have her spay surgery. If your kitten is still too young to be spayed, keep her safely indoors. That will reduce the risk of unwanted interaction with male cats. 

To discover more about what it takes to adopt a cat, we’ve got all the information you need right here. You can also read more cat-related guides and adoption stories on our blog. 

Can Cats Eat Baked Beans?

The short answer: No. The long answer: A combination of white beans and sweet sauce, baked beans are high in protein and fiber but not necessarily good for your feline pet. Garlic and onion may be found in the baked beans mixture—two ingredients that are known to be harmful to cats.     Canned baked beans may Read More...

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The short answer: No.

The long answer: A combination of white beans and sweet sauce, baked beans are high in protein and fiber but not necessarily good for your feline pet. Garlic and onion may be found in the baked beans mixture—two ingredients that are known to be harmful to cats.    

Canned baked beans may contain the sweetener xylitol and salt, which may cause hypoglycemia and/or pancreatitis.

What to do if your cat accidentally eats baked beans: Check the ingredients of your baked beans, and keep a close eye on your cat for the next 24 hours. Watch for symptoms of salt poisoning, which include decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and excessive thirst. Additionally, observe for high heart rate, panting, weakness, and blood in urine for possible garlic or onion poisoning. If she exhibits any of these, call your veterinarian immediately. 

In summary: Baked beans should never be fed to your cat because it might cause immediate health complications. If you really want to let her eat beans, make sure they are thoroughly washed and cooked only in water (no sugar, salt, or other seasonings) until they are soft enough to be digested. Limit the feeding of cooked beans to a few pieces. 

References:

Can Cats Eat Beans? What About Lentils & Peas?

Can Cats Eat Beans?

Can Cats Eat Beans: Top Key Points Every Owner Should Know

Can Cats Eat Beans?

The short answer: It depends. The long answer: From the Great Northern beans of Mexico to the garbanzo beans of the Middle East, there are many kinds of beans harvested from various parts of the globe. Lentils, peas, soybeans, and peanuts are also considered as members of the bean family.  Free from gluten and low Read More...

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The short answer: It depends.

The long answer: From the Great Northern beans of Mexico to the garbanzo beans of the Middle East, there are many kinds of beans harvested from various parts of the globe. Lentils, peas, soybeans, and peanuts are also considered as members of the bean family. 

Free from gluten and low in calories, beans are filled with protein, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and C,  as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. Though they are packed with vitamins and minerals, cats do not need to eat them since their digestive systems have evolved to eat only meat. If desired, you can feed beans to your feline pet occasionally, but only in small amounts and depending on how it is prepared. 

Raw beans should never be fed to your cat because they may block your cat’s intestines or give her bacteria such as Staphylococcus and E.coli. Cooked beans, which are combined with herbs, spices, and sauces, are dangerous for your cat depending on what ingredients are added in the mix. Canned baked beans are also a big no-no since they usually contain high levels of salt, another human food that’s toxic for cats. 

Ask your veterinarian what kind of beans your cat can eat, and how many pieces she can safely consume once in a while. When cooking fresh beans for your cat, the safest way to do so would be to soak them in cold water for about 6 hours before cooking. Bring the beans gently to a boil for about 1 to 2 hours without adding any spices. Make sure they are tender enough before serving them to your cat. 

What to do if your cat accidentally eats beans: Observe your cat for excess gas, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive distress, intestinal discomfort, and stomach pain. If she exhibits any of these salt poisoning symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, and excessive thirst), call your veterinarian immediately. 

In summary: Cats can occasionally be fed fresh beans, but these should be washed properly and cooked without any additional flavours. Be wary about feeding beans to cats with existing skin conditions or musculoskeletal diseases as some of these may be aggravated by consuming beans.

References:

Can Cats Eat Beans? What About Lentils & Peas?

Can Cats Eat Beans?

Can Cats Eat Beans: Top Key Points Every Owner Should Know

Can Cats Eat Yogurt?

The short answer: It depends. The long answer: Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. It contains calcium, potassium, and calcium—nutrients that are good for cats. However, most cats are lactose intolerant, so their bodies have stopped producing the enzyme that helps them digest the lactose found in milk and its byproducts.  If Read More...

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The short answer: It depends.

The long answer: Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. It contains calcium, potassium, and calcium—nutrients that are good for cats. However, most cats are lactose intolerant, so their bodies have stopped producing the enzyme that helps them digest the lactose found in milk and its byproducts. 

If your cat is suffering from constipation, a small amount of yogurt might help her induce bowel movement. The live bacteria found in yogurt helps manage irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, and other digestive issues.

How to feed yogurt to your cat: First off, give your cat a small dollop of yogurt to see if her stomach can safely digest it. Observe her body’s reaction in the next 24 hours. If she shows symptoms of lethargy, abdominal pain and discomfort, loss of appetite, increased scratching, diarrhea, and vomiting, she may be lactose intolerant.

Remember to only give her plain, unsweetened, and unflavoured types of yogurt, and those created without xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is extremely toxic for cats. 

Here are three ideas for yogurt treats your cat will love:

  1. Add flavour to your cat’s plain yogurt by adding bite-sized chunks of fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, or blueberries.
  2. Serve the yogurt straight from the refrigerator as a chilled treat.  
  3. Create soft cat treats using yogurt, cheese, and cornmeal. 

In summary: Eating plain, unsweetened yogurt may benefit cats who are suffering from constipation, stomach cramps, and gas. If your cat can handle this milk byproduct, feed it to her occasionally. Her body will reap the benefits from its friendly bacteria. High levels of protein, calcium, vitamins B2 and B12, potassium, and magnesium are also found in yogurt. 

References: 

Can Cats Eat Yogurt? Which Kind Is Good For Your Feline?

Can Cats Eat Yogurt?

Can Cats Have Greek Yogurt?

Are Fruit and Vegetables Safe for Cats? What Every Cat Owner Should Know

Can Cats Drink Cashew Milk?

The short answer: No. The long answer: Cashew milk is made from blending whole cashews with water. Sourced from trees, cashew is a kidney-shaped seed that is known for containing magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and zinc. Although cats can drink almond milk occasionally, sources recommend that they should not be given cashew milk. This is Read More...

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The short answer: No.

The long answer: Cashew milk is made from blending whole cashews with water. Sourced from trees, cashew is a kidney-shaped seed that is known for containing magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and zinc. Although cats can drink almond milk occasionally, sources recommend that they should not be given cashew milk. This is because the nut is high in fat and can cause digestive upset and/or allergic reaction to certain kitties. 

What to do if your cat accidentally drinks cashew milk: A small amount of cashew milk won’t harm most cats. However, if she vomits, experiences stomach pain, or has diarrhea within 24 hours, call your veterinarian immediately. 

In summary: Cow’s milk is not a dietary requirement for cats because the dairy drink contains lactose, which cats have a hard time digesting. Cashew milk may seem like a good lactose-free choice to give to your cat, but because of its high fat content, it is better to give her almond milk when needed.

References:

Can Cats Eat Cashews?

Can Cats Drink Almond Milk?

Can Cats Eat Cashews? What You Need To Know

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