February 19, 2015

Toxic Foods for Dogs

Hello DoggyBaggers!!

I thought it would be great to share with you some of the foods that are dangerous and toxic to dogs and cats. Dogs and cats have very different metabolisms to our own. They have a different population of enzymes that are responsible for the metabolism of ingested foods. Some foods, which are perfectly fine for us humans to eat, are unable to be effectively metabolised in our pets and their accumulation in the dog or cats system can lead to toxic effects. 

Remember this list is not exhaustive, and if you are unsure about whether a food that your dog or cat has ingested is toxic please contact your veterinarian. If your pet has ingested a toxic substance, time is of the essence and veterinary evaluation should be sought immediately. Gastric emptying, or movement of ingested material from the stomach to the intestines, occurs approximately 3-4 hours after consumption. The stomach can be flushed out and vomiting induced if an animal is brought into a veterinary hospital during this 3-4 hour window. Once this time has passed the ingested toxin will move into the intestines and absorption into the animals system will occur. At this point only supportive treatment can be employed to mitigate the effects of the toxin. These patient typically have a poorer prognosis compared with those that are brought in for immediate treatment. 

This is not an exhaustive list; so if you suspect that your dog or cat may have eaten any food that might be toxic, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Ingestion can lead to injury, disorientation, vomiting, urination problems or even coma or death from alcohol poisoning. Some dogs may be attracted to alcoholic drinks so don't leave one setting where a dog can reach it. 

Apple and Apricot
The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which can result in cyanide poisoning. 

Avocado contains a toxic element called persin, which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in many animals. Avocadoes are high in fat content and can trigger an upset stomach, vomiting or even pancreatitis. The seed pit is also toxic and if swallowed can become lodged in the intestinal tract where it may cause a severe blockage which will have to be removed surgically. Since avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole be sure and keep your dog out of the dip. 

Baby Food 
Many baby foods contain onion powder that can be toxic to dogs. Additionally feeding baby food in large amounts may result in nutritional deficiencies. 

Bread Dough 
When bread dough is ingested your dog's body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. During the rising process alcohol is produced as the dough expands. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression. A pet needs to eat only a small amount to cause a problem, because bread dough can rise to many times its size. 

The seed pit contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause cyanide poisoning. 

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine 
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. 
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. When affected by an overdose of these products, a dog can become excited and hyperactive. Due to the diuretic effect, it may pass large volumes of urine and it will be unusually thirsty. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common. The effect of theobromine on the heart is the most dangerous effect. Theobromine will either increase the dog's heart rate or may cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is quite possible, especially with exercise. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, hyperactivity, irregular heartbeat and seizures. 

Larger quantities of chocolate can even lead to death. 60-100 grams of chocolate may not seem like much but it can be lethal to a small dog that weighs 5 kg. The signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours following ingestion, with death following within twenty-four hours. 

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog sick. The next most dangerous forms are semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. 

Citrus Oil Extracts 
Citrus oil extracts have been known to cause vomiting. 

Cooked Bones 
Cooked bones can be very hazardous for your dog. Bones become brittle when cooked which causes them to splinter when broken, The splinters have sharp edges that have been known to become stuck in the teeth, caused choking when caught in the throat or caused a rupture or puncture of the stomach lining or intestinal tract. 

Symptoms of choking are: 
Pale or blue gums 
Gasping open-mouthed breathing
Pawing at the face 
Slow, shallow breathing 
Unconscious, with dilated pupils 

Corn Cobs 
Many dogs have suffered and, in some cases, died after eating corn-on-the-cob, because the corncob caused a partial or complete intestinal obstruction. Never allow your dog access to corncobs. 

Dairy Products 
Most dairy products are digested poorly by dogs and cats who have little or none of the enzyme required to digest the lactose in milk. Just like lactose-intolerant people, lactose-intolerant pets can develop excessive intestinal gas (flatulence) and may have foul-smelling diarrhoea. It is best to avoid most dairy products altogether, although small amounts of cheese or plain yogurt are tolerated by most pets, since these products have less lactose than most. 

Eggs (Raw) 
Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can deplete your dog of biotin, one of the B vitamins. Biotin is essential to your dog's growth and coat health. Additionally, raw eggs are often contaminated with bacteria, such as salmonella, and you could end up giving your dog food poisoning in addition to biotin deficiency. 

Symptoms of biotin depletion are hair loss, weakness, growth retardation and skeleton deformity. If your dog is suffering from these symptoms the situation is urgent, and veterinary treatment is needed. Cooked eggs are high in protein and make an excellent treat. It is only the raw eggs that should not be given to your dog. 

Fatty Foods 
Rich, fatty foods can be very dangerous to dogs susceptible to attacks of pancreatitis. Often you may not know that your dog is susceptible until he is very sick with his first attack. It is best to avoid these foods altogether: turkey skin, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, fruit cake, plum pudding, deep-fried foods.

Signs of pancreatitis generally include an acute onset of vomiting (sometimes with diarrhoea) and abdominal pain, which may be evidenced as a hunched posture or "splinting" of the abdomen when picked up. The dog may become very sick quickly and often needs intensive fluid and antibiotic therapy. 

Food Preparation Items 
When chewing food remnants from: 
Inadvertent ingestion of food preparation items can lead to abdominal discomfort, intestinal blockage, internal bleeding and in some cases, death. Aluminum foil or pans, candy wrappers, paper plates and cups, plastic forks, spoons, knives, plastic beverage rings from six-packs, roasting bags and BBQ skewers are all such examples. Dispose of food preparation items in a manner that your dog cannot get to it. 

Avoid these foods at all costs!                    Source: http://www.doggiedrawings.net/

Grapes, Raisins and Sultanas  
Grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs when ingested. The symptoms are gastrointestinal signs including vomiting and diarrhoea, and then signs of kidney failure with an onset of severe kidney signs starting about 24 hours after ingestion. 

Spent hops as used in making beer. 

Liver – large quantities
Many dog treats and prepared foods contain liver so it may surprise you to find liver on the bad foods list. In small amounts liver is good for your dog, but if the liver intake is too high it can cause nutritional problems because liver has a high content of vitamin A. Consumption of this vitamin in large amounts can lead to vitamin A toxicity. 

Symptoms of hypervitaminosis A are deformed bones, excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine, weight loss and anorexia. If left unchecked, hypervitaminosis A has in some cases caused death. 

Macadamia Nuts 
The toxic compound is unknown but eating as few as six nuts without the shell has been known to cause elevated body temperature, accelerated heartbeat, tremors in the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs have difficulty or are unable to rise, are distressed and usually panting. Some affected dogs have had swollen limbs and showed pain when the limb was manipulated. 

Many types of garden plants and flowers 
Dogs and cats can become extremely ill or even die from eating poisonous plants. Keep all unknown types of plants and any plants suspected of being poisonous out of reach of your pet.

Mouldy or Spoiled Foods 
The common mould found growing on many foods contain toxins. Symptoms of poisoning include severe tremors and seizures that can last for hours or even days. 

Spoiled foods can cause food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning are severe vomiting, diarrhoea and shock. 

Prevention is the best course, don't feed your dog mouldy food left in the refrigerator and don't allow him to raid your garbage cans or compost bin (or your neighbour's). 

Mushroom poisoning can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are eaten. They can cause severe liver disease and neurologic disorders. 

Nutmeg is reported to be a hallucinogenic when ingested in large doses. Nutmeg has been known to cause tremors, seizures and in some cases death. 

Nuts in general are not good for dogs as their high phosphorus content may lead to bladder stones. 

Onions, Garlic and Chives
Theses vegetables cause haemolytic anaemia, which means that the red blood cells break down leaving your pet short of oxygen.  Poisoning can occur with a single ingestion of large quantities or with repeated meals containing small amounts. The poisoning may occur after a few days. Animals affected by poisoning show gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhoea, weakness and show little or no interest in food. 

The red pigment from the burst blood cells appears in an affected dog's urine making it dark coloured. The dog will experience shortness of breath because the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body are reduced in number. Other symptoms are elevated body temperature, confusion, and increased heart rate.

The quantity of these vegetables, raw or cooked, required is high enough that dogs can generally tolerate small doses without any problem and moderate amounts without apparent signs of poisoning. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. 

While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness. 

Source: http://www.safemadepet.com/

Other Species Pet Food
Each animal species has it's own unique and individual dietary requirements. Despite cats and dogs being both carnivores, they each require different quantities and types of various nutrients, such as amino acids. Feeding a dog cat food and vice versa, can lead to nutritional deficiencies and ultimately nutritional diseases.

Peaches, Pears, Plums
The seeds of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides which can cause cyanide poisoning.   

Plastic Food Wrap 
Dogs have been known to ingest pieces of plastic wrap while trying to eat food remnants left on its surface. Plastic food wrap can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Dispose of plastic wrap in a manner that your dog or other animals cannot get to it. 

Potatoes (Green in Colour)
Toxic alkaloids can be found in green sprouts and green potato skins, which occur when the potatoes are exposed to sunlight during growth or after harvest. Cooked, mashed potatoes are fine for dogs, actually quite nutritious and digestible. 

Salt - Large quantities
Salt and salty foods can cause stomach ailments and pancreatitis. Some dogs, especially large breeds, have been known to gulp too much water after eating salty foods and developed a life threatening condition called bloat during which the stomach fills with gas and twists, leading to a painful death unless emergency treatment is received immediately. 

Stagnant Water & Toilets
Stagnant water in ponds, bogs, small lakes, canals, seasonal creeks and other places where water sets still may contain harmful bacteria and parasites such as Giardia.  Toilet water with freshener or cleaners in the tank or bowl may contain toxic chemicals. 

Table Scraps
Table scraps are not a nutritionally balanced diet for a dog. If fed at all scraps should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat and all cooked bones discarded. Also see "Fatty Foods" above. 

Tobacco Products 
Cigarettes and cigarette butts, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and chewing tobacco can be fatal to dogs if ingested. Signs of nicotine poisoning can appear within an hour and include hyperactivity, salivation, panting, vomiting and diarrhoea. Advanced signs include muscle weakness, twitching, collapse, coma, increased heart rate and cardiac arrest. If anyone who lives in or visits your home smokes, tell them to keep tobacco products out of reach of pets and to dispose of butts immediately. 

Tomatoes and Tomato Plants 
These contain atropine which can cause dilated pupils, tremors and irregular heartbeat. The highest concentration of atropine is found in the leaves and stems of tomato plants, next is the unripe (green) tomatoes and then the ripe tomato. 

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days. 

Dr Oliver Conradi graduated from the University of Sydney with 1st Class Honours and currently works as a Vet in Lindfield, NSW.  He grew up with dogs and cats, and had a love and keen interest for science and biology as a child. He decided to become a veterinarian and discovered his passion after seeing the great work veterinarians carry out during a two month backpacking trip through Africa.

December 12, 2014

Bruisa - Dog of the Week

Name: Bruisa
Breed: Malteze Shin Tzu
Age: 2
Favourite Park: Queenscliff Lagoon
DoggyBag Meal: Chicken

His Story
Meet Bruisa - he's an adorable little pup with a tough name (chosen by Dad) but the sweetest softest teddybear.

Bruisa has been in our lives since he was a puppy, and due to a wonderful friendship with Bruisa’s ‘hoomans’, Bruisa and Soldier became forced besties.

Our first memory of Bruisa was on a picnic down at the beach, Soldier and Bruisa were playing chasing on the sand and out of nowhere Bruiser jumped over a wave and into the water.  In went a big fluffy white furball - out came a little drowned rat!

Inside that tiny body is a pup with a big beautiful heart, Bruisa loves cuddles and snuggles and wouldn’t hurt a fly.  He loves being on the beach and his favourite place is Queensie Lagoon where he goes every night when his parents get home from work.

Bruisa is a bit of a fussy eater.  One time on a family holiday Bruisa was given a can of tuna with his kibble.  Within 5 minutes Bruisa’s face had swollen up to the size of a basketball.. No more fish for Bruisa!

DoggyBag decided to stick to the chicken recipe for Bruisa which gives him variety to his kibble only diet.  As Bruisa is under our 5kg weight, we’ve tailored a meal plan for him, so he can enjoy both his dry breakfast and a delicious chicken meal for dinner.

Keep being a cutie Bruisa, you make us laugh! 

December 10, 2014

Is My Dog Obese?

Hi DoggyBaggers, my name is Dr Oliver Conradi a veterinarian working in Sydney. I will be bringing you blogs about some of the most important nutritional topics regarding our furry four legged friends. Remember if you have any concerns for your dog’s health and weight, or want to discuss these topics in more detail be sure to book a visit with your veterinarian. 

Prevalence of Obesity

I believe obesity to be one of the most common and important preventable diseases affecting dogs and cats in the modern world. In recent years, as has been seen in humans, obesity rates have been on the rise in dog and cat populations.

Perception Of Obesity

The public’s perception of what is considered a ‘normal’ weight for a dog has become skewed. This is likely due to the high proportion of the dog population now being overweight. Dogs that are actually overweight are often perceived to have a normal or healthy weight, and a dog that actually has a healthy weight may be perceived by some as being underweight. 

Is My Dog Obese?

Dogs come in a wide rage of shapes and sizes with a huge range of dog breeds existing meaning it can be hard to know what is a healthy weight for your dog. A few basic rules can be used to assess whether or not your dog is overweight. Regardless of breed, a dog with a healthy weight will have the following features:

  • The ribs and spine should be easily felt and not buried underneath excess fat.
  • When viewed from above, the dog should have a waist which tapers in. The abdomen should not bulge out at the sides.
  • When viewed from the side, the underside of the dog’s abdomen should slope up towards the pelvis. It should not hang or sag.

source: www.aplaceforpaws.com

Obesity And Other Diseases

In recent years research has made us think differently about obesity and the way excess amounts of fat behaves within the body. Excess fat is able to produce hormones and chemical factors which stimulate inflammatory processes. Inflammation is an important process that helps our bodies fight off infections and allows it to undergo healing.  However, if it occurs on a global level in the body and for extended periods of time, it can have negative impacts for health. 

We have known for a long time that obesity is a risk factor for a wide range of diseases and certain cancers in dogs and humans. It is now thought that the chronic state of inflammation that is present within obese animals and humans is directly involved with causing cancer. Other diseases that obese dogs are at a higher risk of developing include diabetes and arthritis. 

Excess weight puts undue pressure and strain on joints, making obese dogs more prone to arthritis and also hastens its progression. Obesity not only makes certain diseases more likely, but also shortens the life span of obese dogs. Studies have shown that dogs fed on calorie-restricted diets have longer life spans when compared with dogs that have free access to food. 

These are just a few of the multitude of negative health consequences associated with obesity. It is critically important to feed your dog a diet that is tailored to their individual energy requirements in order to maintain a healthy weight.

Dr Oliver Conradi graduated from the University of Sydney with 1st Class Honours and currently works as a Vet in Lindfield, NSW.  He grew up with dogs and cats, and had a love and keen interest for science and biology as a child. He decided to become a veterinarian and discovered his passion after seeing the great work veterinarians carry out during a two month backpacking trip through Africa.

December 4, 2014

Bella - Dog of the Week

Name:  Bella
Breed: Pug x Jack Russell
Age: 3
Favourite Park: Sirius Cove, Mosman
DoggyBag Dinner:  Chicken

Her Story:

Meet beautiful Bella!  She was DoggyBag’s very first customer so she’s very special to us.

Bella’s ‘hoomans’ came to us as close friends to express their frustration and concerns over Bella’s eating habits and constant vomiting after eating.  As we had experienced similar problems with Soldier we took up the challenge to make her fall in love with food again.

We started Bella on the DoggyBag Fish meal, which is great for dogs with sensitive tummies. There’s not much more to say other than Bella hasn’t vomited since and now she woofs down her dinner every night.  We’ve also introduced different flavours like the Chicken recipe every now and then to give her variety.

Bella’s a tomboy at heart, she’s sociable and independent and will often befriend other families down at the park but watch her because she’s also known to steal other dogs toys.

But when at home Bella loves nothing more than a cuddle with Mum, but gets jealous of her parents affection for each other, which is why she chooses to sleep in her parent’s bed just to make sure no funny business happens.

We love you Bella.

December 3, 2014

Why The Dry?

A lot of people have been asking us why we serve dry food as part of our daily meal plans.  When we were formulating our diets we did countless hours of research speaking with local vets and nutritionists, reading reputable sources from the Internet and even a few late nights reading university textbooks.

So I thought I would take some time to explain the rational behind our decision.  So let's get started:


Cheaper and more energy dense
Lower palatability, the lack of smell can be a deterrent for many dogs, that’s why it’s left in the bowl sometimes!

In most cases very balanced and meets all nutritional requirements (AAFCO)

More likely to contain preservatives and lacks good sources of protein

Good for the teeth.  Dogs like to chew so the dry option allows them to meet this need at the same time as cleaning and hardening gums to prevent gum disease. Note: for some dogs with sensitive gums dry food many not be an option.

Dry foods do not provide as much moisture as wet foods, this becomes more important as a dog ages, when an animal becomes ill, and in hotter climates commonly experienced in Australia.

Wet foods typically contain more meat protein than their dry counterparts.  Dry food companies use meat by-products instead of fresh meat and sometimes substitute with grain proteins like Soy

All dogs are more prone to developing dental and gum disease when solely on a wet diet.

Wet foods are often more palatable than comparable dry diets. While manufacturers boost the taste appeal of dry kibble by coating it with tempting fats, gravy, and other flavorings, it’s hard to compete with the delectable aroma from a freshly cooked meal with quality meats

Canned foods contain a lot of binding agents like gelatin and coloring agents that can upset your dog’s tummy.

Not all dogs drink as much water as they should and wet foods can help replace any fluid deficits..

Dogs being fed on an incorrectly formulated home cooked diets are at a high risk of developing nutritional deficiencies (more below)

It’s very common these days for pet owners to prepare home cook meals for their dogs – that’s how DoggyBag was born!  It is however very important that when cooking for your dog you prepare the right food that meets their daily nutrient requirements (as defined by the AAFCO) – Especially if your dog is a puppy, elderly or has sensitivities or special requirements.

In many cases the home cooked meals don't meet theses requirements and those nutrient deficiencies could potentially be harming your dog over long periods of time.  As an example - if you feed your dog a raw meat diet then it’s important to supplement their diet with calcium to avoid deficiencies in this important nutrient. Calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones and other diseases    This can be prevented by regularly given you dog raw bones - however this is not always possible for some dogs with sensitivities or not always readily available for the owners. 

So at DoggyBag when we were formulating our daily meal plans we decided on a dry breakfast and a wet dinner to balance out all pros and cons. 

We offer dry food in the morning for the dense energy push to keep the dogs going during the day, plus the added benefit of keeping their teeth healthy.  Then at night-time we serve a specially formulated wet dinner that rehydrates your dog and gives them quality sources of proteins and minerals to help repair muscles and keep them living longer.

However we do understand that all dogs are different and sometimes the mixed meal plan won’t work for all dogs.  If you have a fussy eater make sure you get in touch and we’ll formulate the perfect meal for your pooch.  For more information on our meal plans please visit the Our Food section of our website.

If you have any questions please get in touch and don’t forget to sign your pooch up to DoggyBag today

November 30, 2014

Welcome to DoggyBlog

Hey DoggyBaggers,

Welcome to the DoggyBlog!  This is our forum to share our story and all the knowledge we have discovered along the DoggyBag adventure.  We have worked with many wonderful nutritionist and local Vets to get DoggyBag to where it is today, and we're only just beginning.   So join us, follow us, share us and become a DoggyBagger as we'd love to hear your story!

We will tackle many topics on dog health and nutrition and we will share our own views and learnings, rescue stories, loving stories and of course our own personal stories of our famous Frenchie - Soldier .

Let me formally introduce Soldier.  He is our stubborn, playful, noisy, snoring, unique, spoilt, four year old, brindle French Bulldog.  We adopted Soldier when he was only 8 weeks old, and driving home with him in my arms we feel in love. From that moment on we have treated Soldier like he was a real little boy, a real life Pinnochio (a hairy, four legged version).

As Soldier grew out of his puppy years we noticed we were constantly at the vet, for itchy ears and paws, diarrhoea, vomiting, skin irritations, you name it!  Soldier has cost us thousands in vet bills but we wouldn't have it any other way!

We tested many variables of proteins and carbohydrates and vegetables, until we finally got it right.  Soldier is allergic to chicken, so we keep Soldier on the DoggyBag Fish Recipe and he has never been healthier. Let's just say we've cancelled pet insurance :)

I won't bore you with too much more today, and will share some other great DoggyBag result stories later...

Soldier is our inspiration, he brings so much joy to Simon and I.  He is a creature of habit and knocks on our door at 5:30am every morning to let us know he needs to go toilet, which afterwards he comes in for some cuddle-time.  He has his favourite 'Mr Bonems' which he holds in his front paws and chews every night whilst we work or watch TV and then we tuck him in to bed and kiss him on the soft fur on his forehead every night and tell him how much we love him........what can we say we're crazy dog people.  

We just love dogs and we're so passionate about all dogs, their health and their safety, and we want every dog to live a beautiful loving life like our Soldier-man.

Enjoy DoggyBaggers.