Having a Pet Friendly Valentine’s Day

dog valentines

Having a Pet Friendly Valentine’s Day

Having a Pet Friendly Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is one of the most romantic days of the year. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, taken or somewhere in between, Valentine’s Day can be a great day to spend with your pets, too! You may be surprised to know that there are many dog (and cat) friendly cafes, restaurants and pubs around Sydney and that number is growing!

Below is a list of popular places to take your pooch for that romantic Valentine’s meal or a chilled out pub lunch:

The Henson, Illawarra Road, Marrickville

The Henson pub in Marrickville is a popular spot on weekends for a casual drink and some delicious food accompanied with live music and plenty of craft beers, cocktails and local produce. Dogs are very welcome here and are always greeted with much enthusiasm by the friendly staff. Bookings are possible for indoor tables but not for the outdoor garden.

The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria

The Grounds is a famous go-to spot for anyone in the know in the inner east. Well known for its on-site pig, delicious food and stunning atmosphere, the Grounds is the perfect secluded spot for a romantic beverage or two under their canopy of creeping vines and flowers. Dogs are more than welcome in the garden and around the Grounds itself, but not inside the café. The Grounds is such a picturesque spot that they often host weddings here; hint hint!

Café Bones, Leichhardt

Have you ever heard of a Pupaccino? Well, then you have Café Bones in Leichhardt to thank. Café Bones opened in March 2000 and is responsible for creating the now wildly popular dog-friendly Pupaccino The owners of Café Bones wanted to create a place where dog owners could come and have a coffee and a treat without having to leave their fur babies out of the fun. In its 17 years of business, Café Bones has become the most popular and well known dog-friendly café in Sydney.

Clonny’s on the Beach, Clontarf

For those of you who live on/love the Northern beaches, you are probably already familiar with Clontarf reserve. Offering free parking for locals, this quiet reserve is nestled between giant old trees and across the bay from the Spit Bridge. Dogs are welcome on-leash throughout the reserve and along the Sandy Bay beach on the eastern edge of the reserve. Clonny’s serves top-notch fish and chips, burgers, ice creams and other treats if you are looking for a casual romantic afternoon by the water.

The Sheaf, Double Bay

If you live in the Eastern Suburbs, you know The Sheaf. A popular haunt for locals and visitors alike, the Sheaf is ultra dog friendly! Well known for their cocktails and jugs, The Sheaf will also spoil your pooch with treats and fresh water at your table. This is the perfect place to spend Valentine’s as a group in a chilled out setting.

The Greens, North Sydney

If you’re from over the bridge, The Greens is the pup pub for you. If you’re up for a game of bowls, or a bowl for sharing, The Greens is a great place to sip in the sun and relax with friends. Not a place for quiet, romantic dinners, this pub is recommended for any couple or mingling singles who just want to sit back and enjoy some good food and good company in the sunshine.

The Bucket List, Bondi Beach

If something quintessentially Australian is more up your alley, then look no further than The Bucket List. Open day and night, this bar has a dog friendly front terrace where you can sip a cold one and watch the waves crash over the world famous white sands of Bondi Beach. Hint: the sweet potato wedges and chipotle fish tacos are amazing here!

Chocolate toxicity

No matter where you spend Valentines Day this year, remember: leave the chocolate love hearts to the humans! Chocolate contains caffeine and also a chemical called theobromine. Theobromine is very similar in nature to caffeine and dogs cannot adequately process either of these chemicals, unlike humans. This is what makes chocolate toxic to dogs.

Signs of chocolate toxicity most commonly seen include: vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, twitching, an increased heart rate and drinking a lot of water. More severe (and less common) signs include neurological deficits, seizures and even heart failure. In saying this, death by chocolate ingestion is quite rare and generally requires a very large amount of theobromine and caffeine to be ingested.

As you would suspect, the higher the cocoa content in chocolate (ie the darker it is), the more theobromine and caffeine it will contain. However, even lighter chocolates can cause some unfortunate tummy troubles for your pet as they are high in sugar and lactose. Nearly all dogs (and cats) are lactose intolerant, so ingesting it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.

If you think that your dog may have ingested some chocolate, do not wait to see if any of the above clinical signs develop. The sooner your veterinarian can cause emesis (vomiting) in your pet, the better. It is more difficult to make a cat vomit compared to a dog however prompt veterinary attention is always advised.

After making your pet vomit up as much of the chocolate as possible, your veterinarian will dispense a special charcoal suspension to help absorb any theobromine or caffeine that may already be in your pet’s digestive tract. Your vet will likely also perform a blood test to check levels of liver enzymes to monitor for liver damage. This test may need to be repeated in the days or weeks following treatment to check for signs of liver damage.

While chocolate may seem like a nice treat to your pet, the resulting vet visit is, unfortunately, a not-so-nice experience. At the end of the day, the safest chocolate for your pet is none at all!

A Broken Heart: Signs of Cardiac Disease In Dogs and Cats

In the season of all things love and heart-shaped, let’s take some time out to consider the cardiac health of your pet. Both dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes can suffer from cardiac disease. Unlike in humans, our pets are less prone to artery clogged cardiovascular disease and more susceptible to inherited conditions affecting heart valves or heart muscle.

Heart Disease In Dogs

There are two main forms of acquired heart disease that we see in dogs: mitral valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy.

Mitral valve Disease (MVD)

In mitral valve disease, there is degeneration of the mitral valve of the left side of the heart- causing it to become ‘leaky’ over time. Smaller breed dogs are typically affected including King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, Maltese, Shi Tzus.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

DCM impairs the ability of heart muscle to pump effectively. DCM is more commonly seen in larger breed dogs such as Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes.

Heart Disease in Cats

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

HCM is a thickening of the muscle wall of the heart. HCM can be seen in cats of any breed but Maine Coons and Ragdolls appear to be predisposed.

Heart Disease in young animals

Both cats and dogs can suffer from a range of congenital heart conditions. These animals are born with heart problems and signs of disease typically appear early on in life.

Signs to watch for:

  • Book a vet appointment if you notice any of the following:
  • Lethargy (especially in cats)
  • Reduction in exercise tolerance (dogs)
  • fainting spells
  • panting for no obvious reason (especially in cats)
  • coughing (unreliable sign, only occurs in some dogs)

If your dog has a known heart murmur it is important to schedule regular veterinary visits to monitor the progression of his or her heart disease.

Diagnosing Heart Disease

Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination to assess the overall health of your pet. Your vet will closely listen to your pet’s heart to check the heart rate, rhythm and for the presence of any heart murmur. If your vet is concerned about cardiac health they will likely suggest x-rays be taken of your pet’s chest. The size of the heart is measured on X-rays, and the lungs are examined for any changes that may suggest heart failure.

Based on findings on x-rays and physical exam your veterinarian may recommend medications to improve cardiac function as well as steps you can take at home to monitor your dog’s condition.


Unfortunately, heart conditions in pets are often inherited and therefore cannot be prevented. Maintaining a healthy body weight in your pet can ease stress on the heart in animals that may be predisposed to heart disease. Regular veterinary check-ups are the best way to monitor the health of your pet’s heart.

With all these hearty tips in mind, we hope you and your pet have a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day <3

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