The Dog Walker Blog of Nashville

  • Pet of the Month: August 2017

    Featured Dogs of the Month: Stella and Lottie

    Breed: Bearded/Border Collie Mix and Australian Shepherd

    Regular Service: Pet Sitting

    Stella is a smart, outgoing, and a lovable girl. She loves to be with people and work for treats. She is a natural herder and loves directing her sister, Lottie, back to the house from the yard. We are working on being calm when walking past other dogs. There is a place on our walks that have three dogs running the fence and barking from all sides that makes it very hard for Stella to remain calm and not bark back. We practice being calm and increase our proximity to the other dogs each time we walk. This helps her get desensitized and become more comfortable around her triggers. She is doing so well, that the dog who runs the fence line is becoming less reactive when he sees us walk by.  She enjoys going on the walks with her sister and exploring all the different smells on our ventures.  Stella is always happy to greet you with affection and cuddles. She also enjoys a good game of tug of war. 

    Lottie is a sweet, calm, and gentle girl. She loves to be brushed and roll around on her back after a nice long walk. Lottie enjoys going on walks with her sister, Stella, and does an amazing job walking nicely and calmly in all situations. She is always opened to be pet and scratched on her belly. Lottie has striking good looks and a beautiful coat. All the other dogs, I am sure are jealous when they see her walking by.

    We love working with Stella and Lottie. We feel honored to spend time with them whenever their family is out of town. 

  • Foods that Make Pets Sick

     Foods that Make Pets Sick

     We love our cats and dogs and when those sweet eyes look up at us during dinner, how can we resist to not giving them a taste of our meals? As harmless as a taste may seem, we could be harming them without knowing it. Here is a list of common foods that are toxic for pets:

    Alcohol (Yeast, and Hops)

    Some may find it funny and be curious to see what their furry friends would look like if they were drunk. Others may want to share a bottle with their dog like he was  one of the gang. But it is highly toxic and life-threatening to give your pets alcoholic beverages. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes after drinking alcohol for your pet’s central nervous system to start to show symptoms. Your pet will show signs of depression, he will start to stagger, his reflexes will slow down, and he will increased his urination. If fatal amounts of alcohol are ingested, depending on the weight and size ratio of their bodies, pets could then show signs of a slow respiratory rate, cardiac arrest, and even death. It is not only the alcohol which is dangerous, but the yeast and hops also.

    Seeds (Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Peach, Plum, and Mustard Seeds)

    These fruits’ seeds contain Amygdalin and it is a form of Cyanide. Not only is it poisonous for dogs and cats, it is also dangerous for humans. Consuming this type of poison could prevent blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body.

    Although cooked mustard greens are ok for dogs to eat, the seeds are not. They can cause dogs to vomit and have diarrhea.

    Candy, Chocolate, and Gum

    Chocolate contains a toxic ingredient called theobromine and it takes dogs’ bodies much  longer to process than humans. Eating too much could build up to a toxic level in their system. Signs of chocolate poisoning are usually seen within the first 4 hours of eating the chocolate, but should be monitored for 24 hours. Depending on the toxicity level, symptoms could continue for up to 72 hours.  Fatal doses of theobromine are between 45 – 125mg per lb. of body weight. Different forms of chocolate contain more or less amounts of theobromine -- cocoa powder and dark chocolate being higher than milk chocolate. It would take only 2.2 ounces of unsweetened cooking chocolate or 23.5 ounces of milk chocolate to cause toxic levels in a 22 pound dog. Here is what to look out for if you think your dog has eaten chocolate: 

    Increased excitability / irritability

    ·         Increased heart rate

    ·         Restlessness

    ·         Vomiting

    ·         Increased urination

    ·         Muscle tremors

    Thankfully, most people are aware that chocolate is dangerous for dogs and pets but few also know that candy with the sweetener, Xylitol can be toxic.

     Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in products such as gum, candy, mints, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Make sure to use specially made dog toothpaste to brush their teeth. Xylitol can cause a sudden release of insulin in the dog's body that leads to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It can also cause liver damage in dogs.

    Coffee and Tea 

    Cats and dogs are much more sensitive to caffeine than humans are.  The theobromine toxic ingredient found in chocolate is related to caffeine. Drinking a few licks of coffee, tea or soda isn't going to contain enough caffeine to be toxic, But if they ingest a moderate amount of coffee grounds, tea bags or 1-2 diet pills, it can easily cause death in small dogs or cats. Symptoms of toxic levels would consist of hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, an elevated heart rate, hypertension (elevated blood pressure), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), seizures, collapse and even death.

    Garlic and Onions

    All the foods of the Allium Species such as garlic, onions, and cloves can be toxic to cats and dogs and cause hemolytic anemia, and inflammation of the stomach  and intestines. Cats and dogs can not digest these plants as well as we can. It may take up to two to four days after your pet eats garlic or onions for symptoms to appear.

    Some symptoms to be looking for are: breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse.Your pet also could lose interest in food as a result of this type of poisoning.

    Grapes and Raisins 

     Although it is unknown exactly why grapes are toxic to dogs, there are enough cases to show that grapes and raisins even in small amounts, can prove to be fatally toxic. They can cause severe kidney damage leading to kidney failure. You will need to act fast if your dog eats grapes or raisins. They will need immediate treatment.  Some symptoms to be aware  of if your dog has eaten grapes: 

    Vomiting and/or diarrhea 

    Loss of appetite

    Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness

    Abdominal pain


    Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine)

    Anuria (complete cessation of urine)

    Foul breath

    Oral ulcers




    Nuts (Almonds, Macadamia, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Hickory Nuts)

    Although peanut butter is one of the most popular treats to give to your dog, a lot of other nuts can be dangerous and cause them health issues. Here is a list of nuts to avoid giving to your dog:

    Almonds: Although dogs may like the taste of almonds and they aren't exactly toxic for them, they should still be avoided.They are hard to digest and can give them an  upset stomach and gastric intestinal distress.

    Walnuts: Walnuts are dangerous because they contain a toxin named tremorgenic mycotoxins and can cause seizures in dogs.

    Macadamia nuts: They are very rich in fat which can give your dog a major upset stomach and may cause pancreatitis. In addition, these nuts are reported to contain an unknown toxic principle that  may result in neurological symptoms. They are also part of the grape family.

    Pecans: Contains the toxin juglone that can cause laminitis in horses. Feeding dogs pecans can cause gastric intestinal upset or an obstruction.

    Pistachios: Rich in fat and can cause your dog to develop an upset stomach. In addition, repetitive eating of pistachios can cause pancreatitis in your dog.

    Hickory Nuts: They  contain the toxin juglone that can cause laminitis in horses. Eating hickory nuts can cause gastric intestinal upset or an intestinal obstruction.

    Dogs are curious animals and love exploring their environment with their nose and mouth. We recommend to always keep these foods out of reach of your pets and to use a lock on the trash can or put them out of reach of dogs that love to go dumpster diving. If you suspect your pet has gotten into any of these foods we have mentioned, contact your vet right away for the proper instructions to prevent any serious issues.