HE is on a mission to help our pets . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.
Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm tails.com, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years. He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”
Q) WE are moving house soon and I am worried that my cat Bella, who is eight, will get confused about where we live.
Somebody told me to put butter on her paws. Does that work?
Julia Bailey, Disley, Cheshire
A) It won’t do any harm. She may leave prints and smell her way back. I also heard it slows them down as they stop to lick it off.
Far better advice is to keep Bella in for as long as possible so she settles in the new home after the move.
And when you’re ready to let her out, do it first on a harness and lead she’s been trained to accept indoors.
Garden walks first, then gradually more freedom.
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to [email protected].
Q) MY ten-month old Lhasa Apso regularly lies on her side and twists her face into the carpet as if something is annoying her.
What could be causing this? She stretches her neck out and writhes about as if something is irritating her neck, or she is trying to relieve an itch.
Stephen Robb, High Blantyre, Glasgow
A) Sounds like a classic itch response where dogs rub their faces along solid surfaces to scratch. It may be a one-off itch each time, and in a young pup I’d be surprised if she’s already developed allergies.
Are you keeping her flea treatments up to date? Have you checked if her ears are getting waxy and irritated?
Lhasas can have hairy ear canals prone to waxy build-up and itchiness.
Finally, being a short-faced breed, does she have any skin folds around her mouth or nose that might be getting a bit hot, sweaty and infected? All worth checking and asking your vet about if concerned.
Q) MY terrier cross George has had tests for food allergies and we are reintroducing him to regular food having worked out what was making him poorly.
He has a new food and loves it so much. He gobbles it down, then taps his paw on his bowl wanting more.
Is there anything I can do to let him know he can’t just eat and eat. He has not put any weight on but we have been giving him bigger portions.
Tim Blanchflower, Northallerton
A) It might be that the new food has a lower calorie density than the old brand you used to feed him. So the same amount by eye might not give him all the energy he needs. This is why pet food portions can be so confusing.
It’s important to take into account your dog’s weight and body condition score as well as activity level when deciding the correct portion size.
I recommend learning how to body condition score George so you can tell if he’s gaining weight or not. Then adjust his portion accordingly.
Q) OUR three-year-old cat Suzy keeps sneaking into our bedroom and weeing on our bed. She’s perfectly well in herself.
And she knows exactly where her litter tray is and the cat flap. She has just started to do this in the last month for no reason.
It’s very sudden. What can we do. I am sick of washing!
Guy Lewis, Dulwich, South-East London
A) Short-term solution? Lay plastic sheeting over the bed when not in use. Cats don’t like to wee on non-absorbent surfaces.
They hate any splashing. Longer term, we need to identify the trigger. Is she acting odd in any other way?
Drinking more than usual? If so a vet check is a good idea. Otherwise it could be stress-related. A new cat in the neighbourhood, for example.
You could try placing another litter tray in a quiet area of the house.
Star of the week
WANDERING pony Tom is part of the community in the tiny Dee Valley village of Froncysyllte.
The former racing pony, now 30, had a tough start in life as his owners would beat him with a metal pipe.
After being adopted, he has lived for the past 16 years with Karen Boyce, 57, a dog trainer.
And Tom shows no sign of slowing down.
Karen says: “He’s forever escaping from his field and going off to see people for carrots and cuddles. I’ll get a knock at the door and someone will be stood there with Tom, or I’ll get a call saying he’s been running around and I’ll have to follow the hoof prints.
“Thankfully we live in a quiet place, so there isn’t risk of him being injured.
“He is a wonderful pony and it’s lovely to see him having his best life at 30 and putting smiles on people’s faces.”
WIN: Cat litter ‘castle’
GIVE your cat a furry-tale castle. Sustainable litter firm Natusan and artist Maxwell Tilse have come up with recyclable litter boxes in mini Victorian, Tudor and Edwardian-style homes.
We have three sets, with six months’ of biodegradable litter – worth £115 – to win.
Send an email titled NATUSAN with your fave style to [email protected].
- T&Cs apply. Closes May 10.
Alarm over cruel training videos
CAMPAIGNERS say influencers on Instagram and TikTok risk normalising cruel training methods.
Old-fashioned “behaviour correction” accessories such as choke chains feature on some training videos online.
And welfare campaigners fear rising numbers of owners are using aversive punishment-based techniques over force-free training that rewards pets’ good behaviour. Trainer and activist Jordan Shelley said: “It’s like going back to the dark ages.
“We have done so much to improve welfare for animals but young people are seeing prong collars, shock collars, choke chains and cropped ears and thinking it’s normal.
“Social media platforms have huge influence and archaic training methods used in the US are coming back over here. We need to re-educate a whole generation.”
Pet Vet Sean McCormack added: “What younger owners are seeing on social media is horrific, particular coming from America.
“Over there, it’s legal to crop ears and even ‘de-bark’ a dog, where their vocal cords are removed.”
The RSPCA recommends rewards-based training for puppies and dogs.
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