From a hamster who plays dead to cataract surgery for a dog – your pet queries answered

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, 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. ”

Today our pet vet helps a hamster who plays dead


Today our pet vet helps a hamster who plays deadCredit: Alamy
Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'


Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’Credit: Doug Seeburg – The Sun

Q) MY hamster Diddles likes to sometimes sleep on his back with his legs in the air.

A couple of times I thought he was dead. He is perfectly happy. Is this a bit weird?

Rose Scott, Burnley

Sean says: Sounds like a personality quirk that makes Diddles Diddles.

From sneezing gerbils to anxious dogs - your pet queries answered
From teaching cats English to riding older horses - your pet queries answered

Nothing to worry about.

He may just find that comfortable position.

When my brother and I were young, we once found our hamster stiff as a board, curled up in his nest.

My brother was about to bury him before I realized he was breathing, just very slowly.

Turns out he had gone into torpor because it was freezing in the room he was in as the heating had turned off. Close call !.

Q) I AM considering cataract surgery for my dog.

Maximus is a nine-year-old Siberian Husky who is losing his sight to cataracts.

But do you think it’s too much of an ordeal to put him through an operation?

Jamie West, Hexham, Northumberland

Sean says: No, I don’t, especially not in a nine-year-old dog Husky who may have many years left.

And it’s better to be able to see than not.

Of course the surgery requires a general anaesthetic which isn’t without risk, and very specialist skills and equipment, so it’s naturally an expensive procedure too.

Hopefully you have pet insurance which will cover it.

I always say age is not a disease, and we assess every dog ​​as an individual when preparing them for surgery.

Jackie's cat Teddy wakes her up every morning at 4.15am crying to go out


Jackie’s cat Teddy wakes her up every morning at 4.15am crying to go outCredit: Getty

Q) EVERY morning at 4.15am on the dot my two-year-old male Ragdoll cat Teddy wakes me up crying to go out.

He has a litter tray upstairs and downstairs but won’t use them.

I am not sure if it’s the toilet he needs or if he just wants to go out.

He sleeps during the day and goes out at about 5pm and comes home usually at about 9pm.

He is a great mouser, always bringing them home. Any ideas?

Jackie Olkowicz, Walford

Sean says: This may sound obvious, but have you considered a cat flap?

Allowing your cat to come and go as they please is how most people solve this problem.

Whether that’s going out to a “catio”, an enclosure in your garden that keeps them and wildlife safe, or allowing them to free roam.

You can get cat flaps that let only your cat in by reading a device on their collar or even their microchip.

Let’s not forget also that cats like to remind us we are their staff, so it could just be that.

You could also try a new routine keeping him in at night to save the local wildlife. provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

6 provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) I HAVE a 10-month-old German shepherd who eats her poop.

I have tried everything, ignoring her, telling her to leave it, but nothing works.

Xyanthra is perfectly healthy otherwise, apart from being very greedy.

She is never left alone. Any advice would help.

Caroline Forrest, Stoke On Trent

Sean says: Poo eating (or coprophagia to give it the technical term) is a normal behavior for dogs.

They scavenged from our dumps during domestication, and that included our toilet or latrine sites.

They also learn it from their mum as she cleans up by eating the pups’ poo in the den when they’re young to keep it tidy.

Some dogs hang on to this habit into later life, seeing poo as a valuable food source.

There are several approaches to tackling it. Try not to act like you’re in competition to get the poo from Xyanthra.

Work on distracting her with high-reward treats and, as a last resort, try lacing poos with something like Tabasco or pet-safe bitter spray before she has a chance to get to it so she begins to make negative associations with it.

Star of the week

GOZO the Maltese helped his owner recover from a stroke and now fronts a campaign celebrating how pets have improved their owners’ mental health.

The charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) and North Devon Hospice have teamed up to invite people to share their stories and help others.

Gozo the Maltese helped his owner recover from a stroke and now fronts a campaign celebrating how pets have improved their owners' mental health


Gozo the Maltese helped his owner recover from a stroke and now fronts a campaign celebrating how pets have improved their owners’ mental healthCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk

Paul Jewels, 76, of Braunton, Devon, got Gozo in the wake of having a stroke, following encouragement from his grandchildren.

Gozo became a PAT dog and the duo have won a Volunteer Queens Award for their visits to North Devon Hospice.

Paul said: “Gozo has an amazing ability to make people smile.”


WE have joined forces with Shark to offer a lucky reader a cordless pet vacuum worth £ 279.99.

Suitable for both carpet and hard floors, its anti-hair wrap technology and pet tool means it can tackle any pup or cat’s hair and leave your home free of their fuzz.

To enter, send an email headed SHARK to sunday by June 26.

Find out more at T & Cs apply.


PET owners’ most pressing posers have been revealed in a web poll.

Most-searched questions online include, “Does my pet like me?”, “Why does my dog ​​break wind so much?”, And even: “Do cats have nine lives?”

One of pet owners' most pressing questions is' Why does my dog ​​break wind so much? '


One of pet owners’ most pressing questions is’ Why does my dog ​​break wind so much? ‘Credit: Shutterstock and insurer found owners turn to the internet for three pet-related questions a month, on average.

Pet health is searched for by 59 per cent and diet / nutrition by 44 per cent, while 39 per cent want help with unusual behavior.

Barking and canine obesity are top worries for dog owners, while cat owners search for tips on upset tums and the blood condition feline pancytopenia.

Jo Hemmings, a cat owner and behavioral psychologist, said: “No matter what pet you’ve got – from a terrier to a tarantula – you want the best for it.

“Pets are at the heart of family life so it’s only natural people want to be informed on how to be the best owner possible.

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Readly’s Chris Crouchman added: “There are no silly questions when it comes to your pet.

“Our research shows that other pet owners will have searched around the same issue (as you) too.”

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