July 01, 2016

ACANA Heritage - What You Need to Know

ACANA is 25 and to celebrate this milestone they’ve updated their Classics range of ACANA Dog Foods. The new enhanced range, called ACANA Heritage, celebrates ACANA’s long-standing commitment to preparing Biologically Appropriate™ foods from Fresh Regional Ingredients in their award winning kitchens.

What are the benefits of the new Heritage formulas?

The new Heritage formulas contain more meat, fresh meat and a greater variety of meats than ever before. Due to the improved formulas and high quality of ingredients less synthetic supplementation is required, with Zinc being the only supplement added to the ACANA Heritage formulas.

All ingredients are sourced from farmers and fishermen in ACANA’s local region. ACANA Heritage foods feature:

  • 60% to 75% meat
  • Free-run chicken and nest-laid eggs
  • Whole wild-caught flounder
  • NO grains or high-glycaemic carbohydrates such as rice, potato or tapioca


The ACANA Heritage Range:

The Heritage formulas have the same names as the original Classics formulas, with the exception of ACANA Cobb Chicken & Greens (which has replaced ACANA Chicken & Burbank Potato).

ACANA Heritage Range

The ACANA Heritage bags now have handy re-sealable zips and are available in the following sizes*:

  • 340 g
  • 2 kg
  • 6 kg
  • 11.4 kg

*Some formulas are only available in certain sizes.

Please note: Our suppliers will be switching to the new Heritage formulas as the Classics formulas sell out. They expect to be fully switched over by the end of June 2016. If you would like to check which formula you’ll be receiving before placing your order, please feel free to get in touch with us at, or on 021 554 6178

For more information on the ACANA Heritage Range visit

November 12, 2015

Plants That are Poisonous to Dogs and Cats

Now that Spring is here many of us will be tending to our gardens, or bringing new plants into our homes. Growing plants in our homes and gardens is good for the environment and can be good for our health and well-being but it is important to remember that some plants are poisonous, and should not be grown anywhere that is accessible to pets and small children.

The extent of poisoning varies depending on the toxicity of the plant and the amount ingested. 

There are hundreds of plants that can cause poisoning in dogs and cats but we couldn't possibly list them all here.  Some of the more common poisonous plants found in South Africa are listed below.

Some common poisonous plants found in South Africa:

Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
Elephant's Ear (Alocasia and Colocasia spp.)
Leopard lily/Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia spp.)
Delicious Monster (Monstera deliciosa)


The stems and leaves of these plants contain toxins that cause pain, increased salivation, weight loss and depression. Vomiting and diarrhoea may occur after ingestion of large amounts.

Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)

The seeds of the castor oil plant are the most poisonous part to dogs and cats but all parts of the plants may result in poisoning when ingested.  Signs of ingestion include vomiting, depression and diarrhoea (which may be bloody).

Clivia lily (Clivia sp.)

The bulbs of the clivia lily are the most poisonous part of the plant and poisoning in dogs and cats can cause vomiting, salivation and diarrhoea. Ingestion of large amounts can cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and irregular heartbeat.

Cotoneaster, firethorn (Cotoneaster spp., Pyracantha spp.)

Ingestion can cause hypoxia, and signs of ingestion include salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea (which may be bloody).

Cycad palms, broodboom (Encephalartos spp., Cycas revoluta, Macrozamia spp., Zamia spp.)

All parts of cycad plants can cause poisoning in dogs and cats, and ingestion can cause vomiting (which may be bloody), diarrhoea, depression, muscle weakness, coma or seizures.

Day lilies, Tiger lilies, Easter lilies (Lilium, Hemerocallis spp.)


The flowers and leaves are poisonous to cats, and ingestion can cause  vomiting, salivation, loss of muscle control, lethargy, tremors, seizures, kidney failure, and death.

English Ivy (Hedera spp.)

Ingestion can cause salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)


Clinical signs usually appear within 2 hours after ingestions. These signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, depression and lethargy.

Laburnum (Laburnum spp.)

Ingestion of the pods, leaves and flowers can cause poisoning, which can result in liver damage. Signs of ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhoea (which may be bloody), depression, and in severe cases muscle weakness and seizures.

Macadamia Nuts (Macadamia integrifolia, M. tetraphylla)

Dogs have been known to eat macadamia nuts or kernels with resulting toxic effects. The dose required to induce toxicity in dogs is believed to be between 5 and 40 kernels. Clinical signs usually appear within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. These signs may include muscle weakness, stiffness and tremors, swelling and pain in hind limbs, depression and vomiting.

Nightshade, Yesterday, today and tomorrow  (Solanum spp. Brunfelsia spp.)


Nightshade fruits, which resemble berries, are most poisonous when green and ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

All parts of the yesterday, today and tomorrow plant are poisonous to dogs and cats, and clinical signs appear rapidly after ingestion. Ingestion can cause salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea (often bloody and foul-smelling), frequent urination, loss of muscle control, anxiety and seizures.

Oleander (Nerium oleander)

All parts of the oleander plant are poisonous to dogs and cats, and ingestion can cause diarrhoea (which may be bloody), sweating, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, lethargy, and heart failure.

Onions, garlic

Ingestion of onion and garlic can lead to haemolytic anaemia (destruction of red blood cells) in dogs and cats, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains and other symptoms.

Panther cap (Amanita pantherina)

This mushroom grows at the base of large trees and ingestion can be fatal. The clinical signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle twitching and spasms.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

The stems of the poinsettia plant contain a substance that acts as an irritant, causing irritation to the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract.

Rhododendrons, azaleas

Poisoning from azaleas usually causes vomiting, and may affect the heart, nervous system, respiratory system and digestive system.

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum spp.)

Ingestion of the bulbs or flowers, or the water in which flowers have been standing, can cause poisoning in dogs and cats. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation, increased body temperature and lethargy. Severe cases of poisoning can cause loss of muscle control, dehydration and reduced heart functioning, and can be fatal.

Syringa berry tree (Melia azedarach)

Syringa berries are readily eaten by dogs and ingestion can cause restlessness, muscle trembling and weakness, convulsions, difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Thorn apple, moonflower, olieboom (Datura stramonium)

Ingestion of this plant has been known to cause poisoning in some animals. The effects of poisoning may include agitation, aggression, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, dilated pupils and seizures.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous plant, take them to the vet straight away. Most cases of plant ingestion by dogs and cats result in mild poisoning, however some cases can result in severe effects such as organ damage or death. 


July 28, 2015

Introducing cats ›

Introducing a New Cat to an Existing Cat

Although cats may appear to be solitary animals, many cats do enjoy feline companionship. However, cats are territorial and introducing a new cat to an existing cat takes time and patience, particularly if the existing cat is used to being an only pet.

Throwing the cats together and leaving them to "work it out" themselves is not the best approach, and can cause stress on the cats as well as risk physical injury if a fight ensues.

A careful introduction can help set the way for lasting feline friendship and harmony.

Introduction Process

1. Set up a "Safe Room" for the new cat

Before the new cat arrives set up a room that she will feel safe in. This can be any room that can be closed off, and should contain food and water, a litter box, some beds and hiding places (a cardboard box with a cut-out is perfect as a hiding place), a scratching post and some toys.

When you bring the new cat home place the carrier in the safe room and leave the carrier door open for her to venture out into the room when she feels ready. At this stage you just want to give the new cat time to settle in to her new surroundings in the safe room, so it's important that the safe room is quiet and secure.

2. Feed the cats on opposite sides of the closed door

Place the feeding bowls on opposite sides of the closed safe room door, so the cats can eat in each other's presence. This way they should start to associate the other cat with something positive. If the resident cat refuses to eat outside the closed door, move the bowl to a place where he feels comfortable eating. In later feeding sessions move his bowl gradually closer to the door.

3. Let them get used to each other's scent

The best way to introduce the cats to each other's scent is to exchange socks or scarves. Gently rub the sock or scarf along the cat's face and fur to pick up pheromones, and then place the sock or scarf in a place where the other cat can sniff it. This way the cats can get used to each other's scent without feeling too threatened. You might also want to reward the resident cat with treats when he goes near the sock or scarf and calmly sniffs the new cat's scent.

Once the new cat is comfortable in the safe room she can be let out to explore the rest of the house, and spread her scent around her new environment. The resident cat should be kept in a separate room during these exploration sessions to allow the new cat to explore safely and get comfortable with her new environment. You might also want to let the resident cat explore the new cat's safe room while she is kept safely in a separate room.

4. Let them see each other through a barrier

After about a week, if everything is going well and the cats are eating calmly on opposite sides of the door, then you can let the cats see other through a barrier. You can do this by opening the door just enough for them to see each other but not be able to get through. You could also install a screen or baby gate that neither cat can jump over. Allow the cats to eat and play while being able to see each other in this way. Some hissing and growling is normal but it's best to keep these sessions short to start with and try to end each session on a positive note (for example by giving each cat some treats).

5. Allow the cats to meet face-to-face

The final step is to allow the cats to meet face-to-face. They should only be allowed to meet face-to-face once they are comfortable eating in view of each other (through a crack in the door, a screen, or a baby gate). The initial face-to-face meetings should be supervised and kept short. As the cats get used to each other you can increase the sessions. Let the cats take things at their own pace but keep an eye out for any bullying or harassment. You can help the cats get used to being in each other's company by using playtime as a distraction. Positive behaviour should also be rewarded with a treat or praise.

The amount of time it takes for cats to accept each other can vary. It's important to not rush the process and to allow the cats to get used to each other at their own pace. Make sure that there are enough resources for all cats in the household to avoid competition for food, sleeping spots, litter trays and toys, and ensure that all cats receive enough exercise and stimulation.


Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

If you have an outdoor cat, there is a good chance you will have noticed your kitty munching on grass at some point. If you have an indoor cat you may even have a container of grass inside for your kitty to nibble on. Cats are carnivores and can often be fussy eaters, so why does your cat sometimes feel the need to trim the lawn?

While there is no clear answer to this question, many vets and feline behaviour experts believe that chewing on some blades of grass can be beneficial for your cat.

Here are some of the common theories that suggest reasons for this seemingly odd behaviour:

1. Oh hairballs!

As any cat owner knows, hairballs are a part of feline life. Cats spend hours cleaning themselves, and in the process swallow loose hairs that can accumulate in the digestive tract and form hairballs. These hairballs can have trouble making it out the other end, and can cause discomfort for your cat.

Cats lack the necessary enzymes to break down plant material, so munching on grass causes your cat to regurgitate and helps expel undigested matter, such as fur (and feathers and bones, if your cat has a taste for the odd mouse or bird).

2. Laxative effect

Grass may also act as a natural laxative, helping your cat to move less digestible matter along the digestive tract, and making the trip to the litter box a bit less unpleasant (well, for him at least)!

3. Extra nutrients

Another theory suggests that cats may eat blades of grass for the nutrients they provide. In the wild, cats will usually obtain some nutrients from the contents in the stomach of their prey. These contents would usually include some grasses and grains.

4. Just for fun!

Finally, your cat may just find a blade of grass moving in the breeze too enticing to ignore, and may paw at it and bite it just out of curiosity.

Is eating grass harmful for your cat?

Eating untreated grass is usually not harmful to your cat. However, it is important to keep your cat away from any grass that has been treated with chemicals that are toxic to your cat (such as fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides).

If your cat is kept indoors, then you can keep your kitty's craving for greenery satisfied by providing a few pots or containers of grass around the house. The Kunduchi Super Grass is easy to grow and is a favourite with Nuzzle customers.

It is important to not confuse grass-eating with plant-eating. Many house plants are poisonous to cats (and dogs) and therefore are not suitable alternatives to grass.

Indoor Grass for Cats from - Your Online Pet Shop

Kunduchi Super Grass

December 07, 2014

The Doggie Doctor: Invertebral Disc Disease

This insightful newsletter is brought to you by our friends at Rogz Pet Insurance

Intervertebral Disc Disease 

by Dr Gary Bogner BVSc University of Pretoria Onderstepoort
Sunset Beach Veterinary Clinic

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVD) is a common cause of back pain and paralysis in dogs. The most common breed affected is the Dachshund but it is also seen in other breeds. It can occur at any age and is seen more in very active dogs, especially those that do a lot of jumping, going up and down stairs, playing roughly with another dog and jumping on and off beds and couches.

What is Intervertebral Disc Disease?
The dog's spinal column is made up of vertebrae; these are the bones of the spinal column. To allow for bending (movement) of the back, the vertebrae have discs between them. These act like a cushion to allow bending of the back. The discs have an outer part which is more fibrous (firmer), which is called the Annulus Fibrosis and an inner part called the Nucleus Pulposus. Over time the discs become degenerate and are prone to IVD. Other common names for IVD are “slipped disc” or “prolapsed disc”.

There are 7 vertebrae in the neck called “Cervical vertebrae” and are called C2, C4 and so on. Between the first Cervical vertebrae C1 and C2 there is no disc. Between all the other vertebral bodies there are discs. There are 13 in the chest region called “Thoracic vertebrae” and denoted with a T. There are 7 “Lumbar vertebrae” in the lower back and these are denoted by an “L”. Occasionally some dogs with longer backs may have 8 vertebrae. Most disc prolapses occur between about T10 and L2; the reason for this is that this is where the most movement or bending of the spine occurs. Disc prolapses also occur in the neck (cervical) region.

What happens with IVD is that part of the disc between two vertebrae goes upwards and puts pressure on the spinal cord. The spinal cord lies above the intervertebral discs and runs from the brain to the tail in a bony canal above the discs. When the disc goes upwards it puts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves which originate from the spinal cord. Depending on the degree of compression, amount of disc material that prolapses (goes upwards) and the speed with which the disc prolapses, the symptoms can vary from pain to paralysis.

If the patient only presents with pain, then the treatment is rest and anti-inflammatories. Rest means confinement to a small area. If one gives analgesics and anti-inflammatories and does not confine the patient, they will feel better and move around excessively. This leads to a worsening of the condition and paralysis, and must be avoided at all costs. Cage rest is recommended for at least one week. Cases that have paralysis, knuckling over of the hind paws and weakness usually need surgery. Pain that is not resolved with analgesics, anti-inflammatories and rest will also require surgery.

What does surgical treatment involve?

In order to perform surgery one needs to do an MRI scan. X-rays (radiographs) only show bone well. An MRI scan shows the spinal cord, nerves and discs. In order to operate one must know which disc has slipped; this can only be determined from an MRI scan. In days gone by, we used to perform a Myelogram. This was the injection of a contrast medium (“dye”) into the spinal canal followed by taking plain radiographs. This is an inferior technique to MRI scans and is seldom done today. It carries some risks and does not show up everything that an MRI scan does. MRI scans are done at human hospitals and require a general anaesthetic. No veterinarians in the country including the academic teaching hospital at Onderstepoort in Pretoria (where one trains to become a vet) and where they have the best equipment, has an MRI scanner. They are very expensive to purchase and maintain.

Surgery involves going in at the appropriate disc space between the vertebrae, burring (cutting/drilling of bone) a window into the bones of the vertebrae and removing the disc material that has gone upwards (prolapsed). Success rate with surgery is excellent as long as the patient has “Deep Pain”. This is a very specific nerve reflex that the veterinarian checks before advising surgery. It is done by applying pressure with an instrument to the toes and the patient must clearly show feeling by turning around to the side of the stimulus to the toe. If the patient has no “Deep Pain” it means the most severe spinal cord damage has been done and that the prognosis for recovery is extremely poor. If your pet has paralysis, don’t wait till it is deep pain free; then it is too late to operate. Full recovery after surgery can take up to 6 weeks and occasionally even longer. Many paralysed patients operated on are already walking by day three post op.

I advise a good pet medical aid as these cases requiring surgery can be quite expensive. I also advise not allowing dogs to jump on and off couches or beds, as it increases their chances of having a disc prolapse. I also recommend that one keeps an eye on their pets weight and to not allow them to become overweight.
December 07, 2014

The Nuzzle Loyalty Programme is Launched!

If you've been ordering from us since late October/early November, you'll probably have noticed that you've been receiving points on your purchases! The Nuzzle Loyalty Programme has been developed to thank and reward you for shopping with us, and to tie in social responsibility at the same time. Here's how it works:

From October 2014, every time you make a purchase at, you'll earn points equal to 1% of your purchase value. You accrue points until you reach one of our "cash-out" points - either 100, 250, or 500 points. When you reach a cash-out point (you decide which one), we'll send you a Gift Card or Discount Voucher for you to use at (to the value of R100, R250, or R500). Feel like a free dog toy, extra treats, or a discount on your next bag of pet food? Now, you can! All you need to do is shop, and we'll start banking your points. But that's not where the Nuzzle Loyalty Programme ends...

When you elect to "cash-out", we'll match your cash-out value with a donation to an animal rescue center to help them care for underprivileged dogs and cats without homes. The money could be used for food, blankets, sterilization or a host of other good causes. So not only can you get free stuff for your furkids, you can directly assist in positively impacting the lives of animals in need!

You don't need to join or sign-up - just shop, earn points, and make a difference!

October 06, 2014

Dog Guide Part 3: The Jack Russell

It’s been a busy time over at Nuzzle HQ, and our latest blog is slightly overdue! In this 3rd edition of our Dog Breed guides, we’re going to be exploring Jack Russells.



Jack Russells are spritely dogs that are popularly seen on TV and in the movies, with some having had their own TV shows (Wishbone). In fact, just have a browse through some of the banners on the home page, or the Contact page, and you’ll see none other than the Jack Russell making things look cute! However despite being very clever dogs, they can be a handful if not cared for properly. If you have or are considering having a Jack Russell join your home, read on as we delve a little deeper into their history, psyche, and mannerisms.

The Origins of the Jack Russell

Jack Russells are Terriers that have their origins in fox hunting. They were initially bred by the Reverend John Russell, a hunting enthusiast born in England in 1795. John “Jack” Russell bred the Jack Russell from several of his own dogs, including Trump, a small white and tan terrior who in his mind epitomised the ideal characteristics of a Fox Terrier (a term used in those days to describe any terrier used to flush out foxes from their burrows and hiding places). The word Terrier is derived from the French word meaning “to burrow”. In hunting, Jack Russells would use their bark (not their bite) to persuade foxes out into the open.

At the end of the second World War, the requirement and appetite for hunting dogs declined considerably, and so too did the number of Jack Russell terriers. They were subsequently introduced as family and companion dogs. Today, we know Jack Russells to be small but sturdy dogs, with high energy levels, who happen to think that they can take on the world alone.

Having a Jack Russell in your home - Temperament & Characteristics

Although a fairly small dog in stature (usually no more than 38 centimeters in height at maturity, and approximately 8kg in weight), Jack Russells would appear to believe themselves to be the biggest dogs around. They are spirited and obedient, and generally very happy-go-lucky dogs, but if they think a Rottweiler is looking at them in a peculiar way, they won’t hesitate to take him on and show him who’s boss - these dogs are fearless!

It’s very important that you are this dog’s “pack leader” - he needs to be kept in check, and given rules about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. Without this, you run the risk of him thinking that he’s the leader of the pack, which could make your relationship a tough one as he begins to assume that he’s the boss, and not you.

This breed of dog requires a strong willed parent, who’s prepared to engage him in regular activity and keep him mentally stimulated too. Tough chewy toys and lots of tennis balls to run around and fetch are the order of the day, every day. Your Jack Russell will need space to run and jump around (and boy can they jump!) and this breed is defnitely NOT suited to small gardens or apartment homes. They love digging, and they’ve been described as recreational barkers too.

The JRT (Jack Russell Terrier) is very trainable though, and able to perform impressive tricks - lending themselves well to the numerous roles they’ve had in TV, movies, and print media. With patience and determination, you can train your JRT to be an impressive agility sports competitor. Their hardy nature, high-energy and keen-mindedness lend themselves well to such sporting pursuits.

While they do require your time, patience and commitment, Jack Russells have many qualities that make them ideal family dogs - they’re devoted companions who love being with their families. They’ll enjoy playing with children, however their rambunctious behaviour can be overwhelming for small children. Their general brashness and utter fearlessness can see them putting themselves in harms way, so you’ll need to be extra vigilant.

Health & Wellbeing

As a breed, Jack Russells have a reputation for being healthy dogs with a long life span (approximately 13-16 years) if properly cared for. The most common ailments for the JRT are usually inherited eye disorders - Lens Luxation is one of the more prevalent eye disorders, where the lenses of the eyes (either one or both) become displaced. This disorder though is still, overall, rather uncommon across the breed.

When it comes to grooming, Jack Russells are fairly low maintenance! They do shed their coats, but get hold of a good bristle brush and brush regularly to keep that coat in good condition, and bath when necessary.

Is a Jack Russell for you?

A Jack Russell is for you if:

  • You’re looking for a dog who is extremely alert and serves as a good, loud, watch dog, yet can still adapt to new people relatively quickly and easily
  • You’re looking for a jogging partner, or a companion with loads of energy that will absolutely enjoy learning new tricks
  • You’re in need of a loving and loyal companion who will want to spend loads of time with you

A Jack Russell is not for you if:

  • Your have a small garden (or no garden) and don’t like big holes being dug up (Terrier = "To Burrow", remember)
  • You think small dogs are quiet dogs, and you have issues with lots of barking
  • You have other dogs/pets that might not be able to cope with the feisty temperament of the Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Favourites from - Your Online Pet Shop

Chew Toys are a must for any JRT, so we recommend something tough and durable that’ll provide hours of fun and jaw-clenching action

Kong Classic

A simple Double-Sided Bristle Brush to keep that coat in tip-top condition is a must have



That's all for this dog guide breed! Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for new articles. 

1 2 3 Next »