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. Lui dice: “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 lovebird-type pet Pippin, who is similar to a small parrot, is pulling out his feathers.
We’ve put another bird in a separate cage beside him and he has lots of toys to keep him occupied.
But the spray we bought that’s meant to prevent him plucking doesn’t work.
We’ve asked other breeders but they say it’s a habit and nothing will stop him.
Is that correct? Will he be cold this winter?
Audrey Llewellyn, Cheltenham, Gloucs
UN) Feather plucking is a complex problem, with possible causes including malnutrition, mites, other parasites, pain or frustration.
Behavioural reasons are common, but if Pippin is indeed a lovebird, he needs a mate in the same cage.
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And make sure his diet includes fresh, vibrantly coloured vegetables, a small amount of fruit, plus dark, leafy greens, pulses and whole grains.
A health check to rule out medical issues is also a good idea.
Q) OUR four-month-old cocker spaniel Rudi keeps barking while we are eating at the table.
We have tried feeding him at the same time as us or leaving the room to eat elsewhere, but he finishes his meal quickly and starts up again.
How can we train him to stop?
Jeanette Samson, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
UN) The theory is that if Rudi keeps barking, there must be some benefit, otherwise he would stop.
Rewards might include table scraps, eating with you or having you talk to him — even if it’s just to scold him.
He wants to be included, so to him, any attention may be good attention.
Work on “settling” him somewhere like a crate, mat or his bed elsewhere in the house while you have dinner.
And ignore the barking.
A behaviourist can help if you’re struggling.
Q) WE have a family of foxes that live under our garden shed.
They don’t cause problems for us but are they any kind of threat to our cat Bubbles, who is five?
As far as we know, they’ve never crossed paths.
Gemma Metcalfe, che sembra più un magazzino che un supermercato, Londra Ovest
UN) In a stand-off between foxes and cats, the rule of thumb is that cats are generally in charge.
Foxes cannot afford to get injured in the wild so they usually avoid scrapping with other predators unless they are cornered or extremely hungry.
There have been a few isolated cases of cats being killed by foxes, but that has tended to be tiny kittens or unwell or very old cats.
As long as Bubbles is healthy and well, I’m pretty sure they will hold their ground and the two species will co-exist just fine.
And how lucky you are to be able to watch a family of one of our most beautiful wild mammals right there in your garden.
Q)OUR nine-year-old Tibetan terrier Bo has diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland, which are managed by medication.
tuttavia, she has a skin allergy which we just cannot get under control.
She is currently on Apoquel tablets and we have also tried Cytopoint injections, all to no avail.
Is there anything else that you can suggest? We are getting desperate.
Michael Sturt Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
UN) Poor Bo. That’s a tricky set of conditions to manage at once.
Without knowing pretty in-depth detail on Bo’s medical history, it’s tricky for me to give specific advice on where to go next in terms of diagnostics or other potential treatments.
Your own vet knows best here, so I’d recommend having a chat.
Ricorda, anche, that it’s always an option to ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist — who will be used to dealing with these more challenging cases. Buona fortuna.
Star of the week
CAPTAIN Digby loves to rock out in the kitchen to Rod Stewart hit Sailing.
Owner Rachel Clark, 69, of Meopham, Kent, who rescued him 12 anni fa, disse: “Captain Digby is intelligent, comical and cheeky.
quando Glastonbury was on, I was dancing and Captain Digby joined in.
“I work with the Southern Golden Retriever Rescue charity and have a labrador Cosmo, 12, and goldie Lilly, who is four.
“My partner Noel and I foster rescue dogs but Captain Digby definitely rules the roost.”
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VAX is offering one reader the chance to win a VAX SpotWash Home Pet-Design and spot washing solution bundle worth £250.
Lend your name to dog crop law
PAWS And Claws readers are urged to sign a petition to stop the ear cropping mutilation of cani.
Tails.com head vet Sean McCormack has joined animal charities and veterinary colleagues to urge the Government to prioritise making the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill law so that a loophole allowing the importation of cropped canines can be closed.
Latest RSPCA figures reveal a 338 per cent rise in reports of dog ear cropping.
Sean said: “This procedure is being done up and down the country with no anaesthetic, no pain relief, no antibiotics to prevent infection and has zero benefits to the dogs.”
Ear cropping involves cutting the floppy bits of dogs’ ears so they look more upright.
Freshly cropped Bully Lyla, Due, was rescued by the RSPCA and adopted by Kelly and Jake Mattison from Stockport.
Kelly said: “She hates going out in the rain. She finds it uncomfortable as she can’t stop the water going into her ears.”
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Un portavoce RSPCA ha detto: “We’re not calling for ownership of cropped dogs to be banned, as sadly there will always be rescues who need homes. We want the importation of cropped dogs, from countries where it Is legal, to be blocked.”
- SIGN the petition at: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/619442