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. Il dit: “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) I AM having two doggie guests, Mable and Max, over for Christmas along with family and friends. Can I give them a roast dinner with the rest of us?
Obviously I won’t give them anything sweet, but what about turkey, potato and veg (no onions) as a treat?
Helen Maitland, Bexley, Kent
Sean says: Vous pouvez, but depending on the dogs it might not be a good idea.
Some can be quite sensitive to new foods, so you would need to find out if Mable and Max have had this kind of food before.
If their owner is OK with it then yes, some lean meat (no fat, no skin), mashed or boiled potato and some veg should be fine as a treat. Roasties are out, as they’re too fatty.
Lots of butter and milk in mash is not a good idea either, as most dogs are lactose intolerant.
Plus a fatty meal like this could upset their digestion or even lead to pancreatitis. We see more dogs with digestive woes at this time of year than any other, so beware.
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Q) WHY doesn’t my 16-year-old cat Guinness ever sleep for long in one place or on one thing?
I would love him to have a cosy bed to snuggle up in.
Whether it’s a cardboard box, paper carrier bag or towel, he will only sleep on it for a few days, then avoid it, never to bed down on it again.
Joy Stannard, Isle of Dogs, Essex
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean says: If I told you, I’d have to kill you, Joie. That is just a cat’s prerogative — they give you their approval and they take it away.
It’s not for you to question them. Just be grateful that Guinness deems your home worthy of his presence in the first place and that he allows you to provide for his needs.
Always remember you are not his owner, you are his servant.
Q) CAN you change a dog’s name? I got a rescue but he is called Chocolate and I don’t like it as a name.
Is it a bad idea to give him a new one?
Peter Price, Sudbury, Suffolk
Sean says: I agree with you, I’m not a fan of that name. Although I do like food names for dogs. À tails.com we have a Noodle, an Olive and a Humbug.
The answer is yes, it’s absolutely fine. As far as we can tell, they are not attached to their name, although they may associate it with pleasant emotions relating to their previous owner. Or with negative emotions if they had a cruel history.
In any case, they will adapt very quickly, in a few days or weeks at most. So go for it, reinvent Mr Chocolate for his next chapter in life.
Q) MY rat Mike seems to be putting on weight. I’ve not changed his food.
Should I put him on a diet as he’s looking a bit porky?
Sam Green, Basingstoke, j'ai
Sean says: The problem with pet rodents and weight gain is twofold. Première, we confine them to small cages and a very sedentary lifestyle, where in the wild they would be extremely active and covering long distances foraging for food every day (or night).
Deuxièmement, we generally feed them “ad lib” with food available at all times. Another issue can be selective feeding, especially with the muesli-type mixes on pet shop shelves.
These are not great as very often animals will selectively eat only the tastiest, sweetest parts of the diet, like biscuits and high-energy grains. It’s much better to provide them with a complete pellet diet, which is more balanced too.
And then, bien sûr, as much exercise as possible and time outside the cage exploring.
STAR OF THE WEEK
LOUIS the ginger cat is a real-life Santa Claws.
Owner Hattie Halil, 38, of Bexleyheath, Sud-Est de Londres, mentionné: “Right from being a kitten, Louis has loved Christmas. He really comes out of his shell – you can tell he’s as excited as our kids.
“He loves helping me and my husband Mehmet, 38, wrap the presents for our eight-year-old daughter Lale and five-year-old son Eren – although he tries to run off with the decorative string!
“When he was a kitten he’d climb up and sit inside the tree. He’s got his own Advent calendar and he loves getting his daily treat.”
GAGNER: SMART ROBOT VACUUM
WE have joined forces with Proscenic to give readers the chance to win one of its M8 Pro 3-in-1 self-emptying smart robot vacuum cleaners.
The powerful device, on offer at £389 for Christmas, vacuums and mops simultaneously and it’s pet friendly too.
For a chance to win, send an email headed Proscenic to sunday email@example.com by January 1, 2023. See proscenic.com and Amazon.
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Don’t let pets get at toxic treats
MANY Christmas items are poisonous to pets, charities are warning families.
At this time of year, thousands of cats and dogs get rushed to the vet, but simple steps can reduce risks.
A Kennel Club spokesman said: “Every Christmas there are thousands of cases of dogs needing veterinary treatment after eating unsuitable foods.
“Make sure your dog can’t get their paws on any harmful human foods, including chocolate, Christmas cake, mince pies, Christmas pudding, sage and onion stuffing and turkey bones.
“Be careful too with certain festive plants, including poinsettia, holly and ivy.
"Pour terminer, beware of small tree decorations and toys and decorative wrapping, which can be a choking hazard.”
For more advice, voir thekennelclub.org.uk/Christmas. A Cats Protection spokesman added: “Some decorations, like baubles, tinsel, snow globes and fairylight cables, are dangerous for pets who may nibble at them.
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“If you receive any plants as Christmas gifts, check they are cat-safe by visiting bit.ly/3FNO4MN.
“Onions, garlic, gravy, mince pies and Christmas pudding and cake are also poisonous to cats.”