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) OUR Labrador puppy, Sam, gets so excited to see everyone else – but not me. I’m a bit offended. He is eight months old and I am his main carer.
I feed him, do the early-morning and late-night walks, brush him, check his ears and clean his teeth.
When I’ve been out and come back home he doesn’t bat an eyelid but when my husband and kids come home, or anyone else comes to the door, he’s so excited. He goes crazy.
Sarah Todd, Wincham, Cheshire
Sean says: Have you ever heard the phrase “treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen”? I’m guessing you spend a lot of time with Sam, and you probably ask him to interact with you a lot.
Nothing turns pups off interacting with you quicker than throwing attention at them 24/7. For the next week, don’t talk to Sam, or even look in his direction. But very occasionally ask him to do something and offer a tasty treat.
If he doesn’t do it, cold shoulder. He’ll be putty in your hands when he realises you are nonchalant and exciting!
Q) MY husband cannot understand our Siamese rescue cat Phoenix. Three months ago she began ignoring her litter tray in the bathroom and using the floor there instead.
We have not changed cat litter brands so can’t understand this. Phoenix has the run of our bungalow, enjoys going out in the garden, eats and sleeps well and snuggles up on our lap every night.
Sylvia Haughan, Carlisle
Sean says: Toileting problems in cats can be complex to resolve. I’m guessing Phoenix is getting on a bit. If this has started in an older cat for no apparent reason, two things spring to mind: Perhaps she is getting arthritis, and crouching to poo in the litter box is uncomfortable. Or getting senile could be a cause.
Apart from those, there can be behavioural reasons. Stress from other cats in the neighbourhood. Breaking the habit can be tricky. A temporary fix is to lay plastic sheeting over the floor for two weeks to change its texture. And maybe give her another larger litter tray elsewhere in the house.
Q) TILLY, my one-year-old Jack Russell was spayed at the end of January this year. She has come in season again. How?
Joann Grove, Rickmansworth, Herts
Sean says: There could be a few things going on but your own vet is best placed to tell you, especially if they did the surgery. When they spayed her they may have removed just her ovaries, or her uterus too.
If the uterus was left behind there’s a tiny possibility of some bleeding as her hormones settle down. In very rare cases a dog might have more than two ovaries, so they will come into season if an extra ovary or even some ovarian tissue was left behind after the operation.
Most likely though is a stump pyometra, an internal infection of the healing site where the uterus was removed. It should clear up with appropriate antibiotics. But go to your vet to investigate.
Q) ISLA, our 12-year-old fluffy black female cat never seemed to like Boris the characterful kitten we introduced last year. Now he is one he attacks Isla at every opportunity. How can we stop this happening?
Bill Starr, Saffron Walden, Essex
Sean says: Do you mean playful kitten antics or full-on aggression? It’s hard to advise without watching so get a cat behaviourist to visit. In the meantime ensure Isla has plenty of spaces to retreat to, and redirect Boris’ prey drive using laser pointers, fishing rod toys and balls he can hunt in the house.
If it’s full-on aggressive attacks, then that needs professional help and in some cases it’s best to find a new home for one or the other cat.
Star of the week
LOVELY Lily is a lifeline for her owner, retired Met police officer Brian Hickman.
Brian, 49, from Croydon, was medically discharged after he suffered a debilitating spinal injury that left him needing a wheelchair.
He contacted the charity Dog AID (dogaid.org.uk), who assist people with a disability, and found him the perfect match in Lily, a five-year-old cockapoo.
Brian says: “Lily is my little fluffy shadow, my guardian angel in her yellow and red jacket.
“She picks up the post, finds my phone when I fall, alerts people when I am out if I need help and beyond this, she has given me my confidence back. Lily is an exceptional little dog and I’d be lost without her.”
Win a cat care pack
WOULD you love to have a better understanding of your feline friend?
Learn about how to keep your kitty content with cat whisperer and behaviour expert Julie-Anne Thorne (naturallycats.co.uk).
We have a complete cat care package worth £250, which includes a behaviour consultation, signed copy of her book The Aromatic Cat, and a herb garden for your pet.
To enter, send an email marked AROMATIC CAT to [email protected] Entries close June 13. T&Cs apply.
Don't stress your dogs out
TELLY dog trainer Graeme Hall says owners are unwittingly causing anxiety in their pets by worrying too much about them.
As host of Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly on Channel 5, he supports owners whose pets are out of control.
The 55-year-old says new pet owners are in danger of creating a generation of fearful dogs by fretting they will not be able to cope when home alone.
Graeme – who is one of the speakers at the 5 On The Farm festival which is taking place from August 28 to 30 at Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley – said: “If you look anxious when you’re about to leave, your dog will pick up on your body language.
“They will think, ‘there’s something not right’. If you’ve not left your dog alone much, pop outside for a few moments then come back in again. But act like it’s perfectly fine so they don’t pick up on your anxiety.”
As lockdown eases, dogs are reacting when visitors come into their homes for the first time in months.
Graeme says that owners should arrange visits “little and often” and give dogs lots of praise for being well behaved.
Owners should try to socialise their dogs as much as possible with trips to cafes and restaurants.
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