Lifestyle

From wandering moggies to dogs with worms — 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 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 have a lovely cat called Basil, who is 12 years old – and he always goes into other ­people’s houses.

We are lucky to live in a friendly street as he keeps being found in neighbours’ spare rooms, on their sofas, or in their kitchen.

How do I stop him?

Louise Roberts, Didsbury, Manchester

A) Basil is a social butterfly it seems.

In truth, you can’t stop him visiting the neighbours unless you keep him indoors or confine him to your garden. It can be done with fittings on your walls and fences.

If the concern is him eating more than he should or being fed elsewhere, you could attach a paper collar with a message not to feed him.

If it’s just embarrassing for you and annoying for your neighbours, I highly recommend gifting them some baked goods to say sorry.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) OUR Collie, called Bess, is ­adorable but she chews up everything she can.

Now restrictions have been eased my mother-in-law came to the garden and was wearing a silk scarf. Bess got it and ripped it to pieces.

I’ve had to fork out for a new one. How do I stop this? 

Freda Stones, Dudley

A) Perfect excuse to never invite your mother-in-law to visit ever again!

But if you must, give Bess an exciting toy to keep her eyes off the prize. 

Rotate her favourite toys only giving her one or two per day and keep the rest out of reach. That way, they keep their novelty value. 

And find that one toy or perhaps a puzzle feeder with her favourite food in for those times you need to leave her unsupervised.

Q) MY Cockapoo puppy Lyla is five months old and has been wormed, but she keeps rubbing her bum on the floor.

I worry she’ll hurt herself. I don’t think it can be worms.

Might it be something else?

Jayne Adams, Newcastle

A) It’s a common myth that dogs rubbing their bum on the floor — known as scooting — means worms. It can, but indirectly.

Worms can cause loose stools, which can lead to full anal glands. 

But anal gland problems are the usual cause for scooting. In some breeds the anal glands fill up more often and get blocked.

Dogs scoot to try to empty them. There are dietary factors, so make sure Lyla is on a balanced diet with appropriate fibre levels to keep her stools firm.

She may need a vet to squeeze her bottom in the meantime.

Q) ROCKY, my dog, is a mixed breed from Spain. He is nine and for the last two years has had digestive problems. 

My previous vet put him on Oxycare medication but our new vets have stopped it. He’s had tests and scans and all seems OK. 

Rocky is on hypoallergenic wet food and occasionally gets a bit of chicken. His poo is very loose one day and fine the next.

Please can you help? 

Raymen Miah, Lowestoft, Suffolk

A) Dogs can be allergic or intolerant to any food ingredients, and chicken is a common culprit. 

So you may be undoing all the benefit of Rocky’s hypoallergenic diet by offering him chicken alongside. 

Let’s stop all other foods for now apart from his hypoallergenic food. It can take as long as eight to 12 weeks for his stomach to settle down again. It’s called an elimination diet. 

If he gets better and the problem returns when you reintroduce one new ingredient at a time, you’ll have found what he’s allergic to. 

Star of the week

SMEG the cat used one of his nine lives after he was left in a fridge sent to a recycling plant.

The 12-year-old cat lives with owner Charlotte Erika Walker, 44, in Dorchester, Dorset.

She rescued him while working there and he is now her medical alert cat.

Charlotte, who runs a natural health business for animals, says: “He was given his name as he was found in a Smeg fridge. It was more fitting than Hotpoint or Zanussi!

“He’d travelled 100 miles in the fridge and didn’t have a chip, so I adopted him.

“If he hadn’t been discovered, he’d have most likely died. Now he has a lovely life and is my alert cat. When I’m about to have a migraine, he comes up and sniffs my mouth to let me know.

“He’s such a sweet boy. To think someone threw him away is heartbreaking. He’s my little miracle.”

WIN: Grooming day

GET pets looking pooch-perfect with one-day grooming courses from iPET Network (ipetnetwork.co.uk).

As well helping pups look smart and feel good, grooming builds your bond.

One lucky reader can win a place on the course, worth £235, in Kent, Cheshire or Brighton.

To enter, send an email headed “IPET” to [email protected] co.uk.

T&Cs apply. Enter by May 9.

Do dogs prefer listening to Bach?

OWNERS are turning to meditation to bond with their pets and ease signs of anxiety.

Flea treatment firm itchpet.com has created a pet therapy recording which combines classical music, affirmations and meditation for both owner and pet.

Dr Lauren Finka, a behaviourist who helped to compile the “audio experience”, said: “The idea is for pet owners to take a few moments to enter into a calm, peaceful and positive mental state while near their pets.

“Research has shown that pets are sensitive to our tone of voice, body language and even facial expressions, and may notice and appreciate the changes in our behaviour that the relaxation practice will bring.

“Studies also suggest that just like in humans, classical music can have a calming and relaxing impact on cats and dogs.

“Positive verbal praise from owners has been found to stimulate the ‘reward’ parts of dogs’ brains.

“As well as encouraging us humans to relax, the music and affirmations selected for the audio track are also designed to have a directly positive, calming impact on your pet.”

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