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) MY two-year-old neutered rescue husky-cross Bob is a bin-diver.
The minute I turn my back he tips it over and scoffs whatever contents he can find.
He’s fed well on good-quality dry food plus treats but he won’t stop. I came home once with my friend and he’d dragged the entire contents through the house.
I’ve now resorted to a tiny table top bin but he still gets it.
Please can you help me stop his scavenging ways.
MARIOS ANASTASIADES, Sevenoaks, Kent
Sean says: Bob the bin dog, eh? The easy fix here is almost so simple it’s ridiculous. Do not allow Bob access to the bin.
That may mean it goes in a cupboard with a child lock. Or a sectioned-off area of the kitchen. Or Bob is kept out of the kitchen altogether, or with a gate when unsupervised.
But a determined husky (or cross) will always get to the resource they want if it’s available to them.
I’m not going to train that out of him with a few words of advice. Make it unavailable. Problem solved.
Q) OUR short-haired black cat Arthur is a couch potato.
He just sits around all day and only moves to eat, wash himself or go to the loo.
I’ve tried everything from mouse toys to lasers and lovely scratch posts as well as putting him outside, but he just comes straight back in again.
It’s lovely, as he’s a great company, but should I be concerned as surely, like humans, he needs some exercise?
HARRY GREEN, Lancaster
Sean says: He does need some exercise but it’s difficult to force it on him if he’s not into chasing games and interactive toys.
The bigger concern than his exercise habits is Arthur’s weight. Is he in good condition or overweight? Answer honestly.
Carrying too much weight can cause lots of problems, so if he’s a couch potato you may need to put him on a calorie-controlled diet to help keep him at a healthy level. Your vet team can advise.
Q) WHAT’S the best bedding to use for gerbils?
Should I go for newspaper, pellets or straw or a bit of each? I know they like to burrow.
PAULA ROBINS, Carlisle
Sean says: You want a safe, dust-free and non-toxic bedding that will hold its form as they make tunnels, and absorb any moisture or smells for longer periods than what’s needed for a hamster or pet rat, for example.
The ideal is a mixture of wood shavings, hay and a paper-based, dust-free bedding like Carefresh or Kaytee Clean and Cozy.
That deep layer combination of long fibres, small particles and super absorption means your gerbils can create a tunnel system and you don’t need to clean it out for three to four weeks depending on the size of enclosure and how many gerbils you have.
The bigger and deeper the tank, the better for gerbils, with aquariums being way better than standard wire cages.
That way they can dig deep and you have the added bonus you can watch them “underground”.
Q) IS it OK for a dog to eat cat food?
I have a two-year-old Labrador Molly and a five-year-old cat Purdy, who both live very happily together, but if my cat leaves any food then Molly gets stuck in with the left-overs. Is it OK for her?
JIM BROWN, Manchester
Sean says: It’s not going to kill Molly but it’s not a great idea in the long term as cats and dogs have very different nutritional requirements.
It also means she’s overeating regularly which can lead to weight gain.
It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Molly is a Labrador, though.
Interesting fact: Scientists studying Labrador genetics have found that as many as one in three of them lack the gene responsible for telling their brain they are no longer hungry.
Maybe Molly’s one of that group of dogs who thinks she’s wasting away.
Star of the week
MAX the cat is a hero as well as best friend – as he raises the alarm when his teenage owner Jessica Swift is taken ill.
Jessica, 16, has a chromosome disorder, autism, epilepsy and learning disabilities, but when she has a seizure in the night, she runs to let her mum Zoe Curtis know.
And in return Jessica makes sure that Max, who is a finalist at this year’s Cats Protection National Cat Awards, gets his daily heart medication.
Zoe, 44, of Harrogate, North Yorks, said: “Max is Jessica’s hero and vice versa. Jessica can have seizures in the night, and we have an alarm to let us know but Max is often already running to us to alert us. They are inseparable. ”
DOES your pet have a habit of hogging the sofa? Well now they can have their own mini one.
Online furniture company Arighi Bianchi has launched a new range of luxury pet beds to match their owners’ sumptuous sofas and that can take pride of place in their living room.
Two readers can win a Gray Pet Sofa Bed, worth £ 130.
To enter, send an email headed PET SOFA and state the size from small to large to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 3.
See arighibianchi.co.uk. T & Cs apply.
Teach old dogs new tricks
NEARLY half of Britain’s 13million dogs are officially classed as seniors with experts recommending “brain training” to keep them happy to ripe old age.
While we cannot get them doing Sudoku there are steps to help keep their brains active.
Carolyn Menteith, a behaviourist for tails.com, said: “When you have had your dog from a puppy and watched it grow up, it can be hard to think of them as becoming elderly.
“The old adage ‘use it or lose it’ seems to be as true for our dogs as it is for us.
“They can’t do online puzzles, crosswords or Wordle, but we can make sure we continue to train them and exercise their gray matter.”
She suggests: 1) Engage your dog’s brain with games like hiding treats inside an old toilet roll for them to shake out.
2) Use interactive toys such as treat-dispensing balls, or snuffle mats.
3) Lay treat trails – but keep in a line so they don’t wander off if their hearing or eyesight is deteriorating.
4) While the other senses may be fading, the power of the nose is usually still surprisingly strong so keep plenty of smelly treats.
5) They can still enjoy several shorter walks throughout the day.
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