Monday, 28 July 2014

Human Foods to Avoid for Dogs

There are a number of human foods that you should avoid feeding to dogs as they can have an adverse effect on their health.

Alcohol: affects dogs in the same way it affects humans. High levels of alcohol consumption can cause intoxication, gastrointestinal irritation, respiratory distress, coma and death.

Avocado: contains persin which is in all parts of the avocado. Ingestion causes gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death.

Chocolate: contains theobromine (a methlyzanthine) which is toxic to dogs. Toxicity is dose related meaning that the overall effect of chocolate ingestions depends on the size of the dog, the amount eaten and the type of chocolate. 

Symptoms include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and urination, increased heart rate and seizures. 

Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Beloved dog ate entire jar of coffee
Coffee or caffeine products: In large enough doses, caffeine can be fatal for a dog and there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors. This also includes tea.

MOLLY, the beloved chocolate Labrador (maybe she should be called Mocha) scoffed an entire jar of coffee and didn’t sleep for three nights.

Cooked bones: can splinter and cause gastrointestinal obstruction or laceration.

Fat trimmings: Fat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause intestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhoea. It can also lead to your pet to developing pancreatitis.

Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas & Currants: The toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown but it can lead to kidney failure.

Onions, Garlic & Chives: These contain a substance that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and lead to red blood cell damage and a form of anaemia. Garlic and chives contain the same substance but at a lesser volume.

Salt: Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning. Signs that your dog may have eaten too many salty foods include depression, tremors, elevated body temperature and seizures.

Tomatoes and Potatoes: These contain a substance that causes violent gastro-intestinal problems.

Xylitol (Artificial Sweetener): Causes insulin release in dogs which can lead to liver failure. Initial signs of toxicity include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. This sweetener is used in candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods and some diet foods.

Yeast dough: can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your dog's digestive system. This can be painful and cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. The risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen.

Not all fruits and veggies are good for dogs but carrots are!

Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene for dogs. While many dogs love to just chew on carrots, it’s easier on their digestion if they eat shredded carrots instead of chunks. I have Labs and they think shredded carrots are a treat that they work for. But, if yours won’t eat it directly from your hand, you can take a handful of shredded carrots and sprinkle it on their kibble.

Friday, 11 July 2014


AARF wants your help to raise $25,000 to create a scientifically-designed dog training program that will save lives. 

In April 2014 AARF received a generous donation from the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust for $36,000 to start a project to design and evaluate a training program to help dogs prevent their diabetic owners from falling seriously ill. The project is set to take off this month at the prestigious La Trobe University in Victoria.

AARF needs to urgently raise $25,000 to complete this innovative life-saving project. Join the campaign at to help AARF raise enough money to finish the job.

Two simple things you can do right now:
  1. Make a tax deductible donation through AARF's campaign page on Click HERE.
  2. Share AARF's campaign page with everyone you know to raise awareness about this Australian innovation.
Want to know more? Check out AARF's Facebook page for more updates and to learn more about what they do. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Assistance Dogs International Conference 2014

Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organisations. The purpose of ADI is to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of assistance dogs, staff and volunteer education, as well as educating the public about assistance dogs, and advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities partnered with assistance dogs.
ADI has a comprehensive accreditation system and members have to be regularly assessed to ensure they meet the high standards expected of assistance dog programs.

Assistance Dogs International Conference 2014

The 23rd ADI International Conference is being held in Denver, Colorado, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in September 2014. For the first time ever, the International Conference will be combined with the Trainer’s Conference and the 2nd Annual AAII Conference:
  • Trainers Conference – Sept 15 & 16, 2014
  • International Conference - Sept 17 to Sept 19, 2014
  • AAII Conference – Sept 19 & 20, 2014
Online registration at Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from a sensational line up of speakers, including Temple Grandin, Patricia McConnell, Mark Hines from KONG, and many more.

ADEu Conference 2015

The 12th ADEu Conference will be held in 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic.

New sister organisation for ADI

ADI is pleased to welcome ADI members to a new sister organisation - Animal Assisted Intervention International (AAII). AAII grew out of many discussions within ADI about how best to support the growing number of organisations working in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy, Education and Activity (together called Animal Assisted Intervention - AAI). These organisations, many of them also involved in training assistance dogs, lacked an international focus for creating standards, developing professional standards and offering networking opportunities.
ADI set up a Working Group in 2009 to take a closer look at how best to meet this need, and what role ADI should play in supporting the newly emerging field of AAI. After lengthy discussion, ADI decided to support the creation of a newly independent not for profit organisation to bring together AAI programs. The prime reason for this decision to create a separate organisation was to ensure that a clear distinction between the assistance dog and AAI working models is maintained. However, there are also many common factors in the work promoted by ADI and AAII and it is hoped that the two organisations will maintain close contact - including holding joint conferences.
Further information is available at

Friday, 23 May 2014

Dog-ercise decoded…

Are you and your pet getting the most out of taking the dog for a walk?

Owning and exercising a dog is a great way for you both to maintain your health and for dog owners to ensure they get their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

But remember that dogs are susceptible to the same health problems that inactivity brings, such as obesity and diabetes.

Professor Adrian Bauman is a Jack Russell owner and director of the University of Sydney's Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Research Group. Here are his tips for maximising the benefits of dog exercise, from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Exercise ideas:

  • Don't just stand on the spot throwing the ball. Chase your pooch and try playing dog soccer, kicking the ball away when you get possession.
  • Jog around the oval throwing the ball for the dog as you go.
  • Mix up walking and sprinting to give you both a blast of interval training.
  • If you are a regular runner, take the dog with you.

Common sense considerations:
  • Take it easy if your dog is a short-legged breed. Slow down if your dog is panting heavily or wants to stop.
  • Throw a ball, not a stick. It's much safer.
  • Throw long, low shots, avoiding high bounces that could encourage your dog to risk jumping too high.
  • Remember that walking on sun-heated bitumen may burn dogs' paws in summer.
  • Be conscious that dogs can be affected by heat exhaustion if they over-exert themselves in hot weather.

Or better still just let him cool off in some nice water on a hot day!

Charlie Annenberg - Philanthropist Extraordinaire

When Charlie Annenberg adopted an abandoned golden retriever named Lucky, a new breed of philanthropy was born. Annenberg incorporated Lucky into all his projects - making documentaries about people who were making a difference.

charlie annenberg

Lucky became Annenberg's sidekick & soul mate and would eventually inspire donations to dog-focused causes. Across America everywhere they went Annenberg filmed Lucky interacting with people and places. In 2010, Annenberg used his Lucky photos & films for a travel journal on Facebook, recording stories of their trips.

Annenberg called the journal Dog Bless You, he said, because several years earlier Lucky had befriended a homeless man in San Francisco. They shared time and a sandwich with the man. As they were leaving, the man said: "Dog bless you."

The Facebook page was all about Lucky, captured the fervor for pets that was growing around the country with over 500,000 fans.
  • When an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, killing more than 18,000 people, Annenberg used Dog Bless You to send six search dogs.
  • When war veterans started returning home in large numbers, with wounds including brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, passion for the cause on Dog Bless You soared.

Annenberg (grandson of the late publisher, ambassador and philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg) heads up The Annenberg Foundation which gives away up to $8 million a year. In just three years, he's donated 170 guide dogs, search & rescue dogs or service dogs for veterans.The majority of the dogs funded by Annenberg have been for veterans. 

"Hearing the stories of how these dogs help bring their humans out of the darkness is incredible. In some instances, having the companionship of a dog is what motivates them to keep going – it gives them a purpose and reason to get up in the morning." said Dog Bless You fan Rachel Nelken of Vancouver, British Columbia.

As Lucky aged and slowed down, the format of Dog Bless You changed, becoming a tribute to every dog. And Lucky had to retire from travelling. Annenberg misses Lucky at work...

Monday, 5 May 2014

How can service dogs help Parkinson’s?

Service dogs are specialty trained to help and protect people with vision, hearing, physical and emotional challenges. Some of the earliest and well-known use of service dogs is the use of guide dogs for blind or visually challenged persons. Many people with Parkinson’s Disease use a Mobility Assistance Dog. Sometimes a special harness is worn by a Mobility Assistance Dog made for pulling objects, such as wheelchairs or helping someone balance.


Service dogs can help a person with Parkinson’s disease in many ways. Here are just a few of the ways:
  • Help with physical tasks around the house such as turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, picking up objects.
  • Assist with walking by helping with balance, act as a support or help a person get up.
  • Hold a person up if they are dizzy.
  • Overcome freezing of gait. This can be done by clearing the way in crowded areas, by using gentle pressure on a person’s leg or leading a person away from a hectic and stressful area that can exacerbate freezing.
  • Exert a calming effect at times of stress and anxiety.

Remember these are service dogs and not pets nor a guard dog. They are wonderful and amazing animals that can help you live better. You can contact the following sources for more information:

Please remember not to interfere with a working Service Dog. This lovely video clip will remind you why!

Do We Really Want A Generation Of Couch Potato Dogs?

We often park children in front of electronics at home or in a restaurant. It looks like we can do the same with our pets. DogTV will cost subscribers $5.99 a month to broadcast content 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, to capture the attention of our dogs. The company describes the channel as “scenes with and without other animals, animation sequences and a variety of moving objects.” There will also be relaxation segments which will show sleeping dogs and nature scenes, while playing soothing music.
Home Alone: Studies have shown that dogs left at home alone, while their humans are at work, do better when the TV is left on. The content on DogTV was developed scientifically, using research groups, and with input from dog trainers, and is designed to prevent anxiety, depression and boredom. When dogs are left alone they often become anxious, and that’s when they tear things up. The programming provides dogs with segments meant to stimulate and invigorate them, as well as segments to calm and relax them. 

The stimulation segments show dogs running, frisking around, and surfing. The hope is that it will encourage the dog watching the show to get up and move around in excitement. There are also segments designed to expose dogs to things they need help getting used to. Images of other dogs help socialize them, other sounds and images like traffic sounds, doorbells, babies and children, and other animals are all included to help get your dogs accustomed to those things.
DogTV is recognized by the Humane Society of the United States for improving the quality of dogs’ lives.  Dogs that are made to feel confident and happy when they have to be left alone are less likely to be stressed, or have separation anxiety.
These programs were created specifically for dog’s vision and hearing, and their behaviour patterns. Filmmakers had fun making the segments, getting down on the ground to shoot from Dog Point Of View. Editors worked with the film to tone down the colours, cut high frequency sounds, and add music. Dogs can see the colours blue and yellow, but not red or green. Past research on dogs shows that they could only see a flickering screen on old analogue televisions. Newer technology allows dogs to see images as long as they are the right colours. There are no plans to run commercials on the channel, and new content will be added all the time.
Remote Control Wars: If your dog wants to watch his “stories” while you’re home, and you don’t want to give up control of the remote to your hound, you can stream the programming to a computer for $9.99 a month. 
Source: Dog Weight Loss - Eva Ramirez
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