HE is on a mission to help our pets. . . and she 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 want to take our dog on a camping holiday to France — she’s not gone before and it’s a long journey.
Any tips to make it as smooth as possible?
She’s had her rabies, flea, worming, and all her jabs are up to date.
Leah James, Exeter
Sean says: First off, build up her tolerance and enjoyment of going on car journeys to make that aspect less stressful.
Lots of reward-based training and positive associations with the car should help.
Second, check on the government website what exactly you need to do and in what timescale for any country you are thinking of bringing your dog to.
Some guidelines for France differ from other countries.
And get in touch with your vet well ahead of time — a month before if possible — to discuss getting her the animal health certificate now required for travel.
Preparation is key, as the whole process has become so much more complex in recent years.
Q) MY cat hisses at the vets and they have to wear gauntlets to avoid getting scratched to pieces.
She scratches me as well.
Is there anything I can do to calm her?
It’s so stressful for everyone involved.
Emma Potter, Newquay, Cornwall
Sean says: This isn’t ideal and is more common than you think, so don’t worry or stress out yourself.
There are ways around this.
There is a very effective medication for fractious cats that calms them right down ahead of their vet visits.
I think it is better for all involved if she is nice and mellow and doesn’t really remember much about the ordeal — plus everyone keeps their fingers!
Have a word with your vet about getting her some disco biscuits and all will be well.
Q) CAN I take my ferrets Bob and Bill, who are both one year old, on a walk?
I’m in a quiet area and I’ve seen suitable harnesses and leads online. Is it advisable?
Bill London, Aberystwyth
Sean says: You can, and many do. There’s no doubt they really enjoy getting out and exploring their environment.
It provides valuable mental stimulation and physical exercise.
However, I’d advise caution when doing it in public places.
First, there are dogs about, many off lead, who will see Bob and Bill as very interesting furry creatures, perhaps even prey.
Also, ferrets are escape artists so if you are walking them I’d advise doing so in an enclosed space outdoors, and make sure their harnesses fit well so they can’t wriggle out.
Q) PLEASE can I ask you for help with my seven-year-old lurcher dalmatian cross’s scooting.
Pumpkin has been to the vets and they said his anal glands are OK.
He has dry food and chilled dog food which isn’t cheap but I don’t mind as long as he eats it.
He also has fresh chicken and lamb liver once or twice a week.
I have put extra fiber into his food and have been doing a warm compress on his bottom for a few minutes each day but my poor dog is still scooting.
Valerie Quyale, Norfolk
Sean says: On a single vet visit, his anal glands may well have been OK, but that’s just a snapshot in time and things can change by the day, week or month.
There could be a new blockage of the ducts that drain the glands, they could be inflamed or infected, there could be an abscess there or even something more sinister.
It may just be that Pumpkin needs a higher level of fiber again.
There are multiple possibilities, as you can see.
I’d be inclined to suggest a revisit to your vets, where they might want to flush the anal glands and culture them to see if there’s any infection, for example.
Or if there is thickening they might want a biopsy.
Basically, they need to physically examine what’s going on again.
stars of the week
MISTER Socks smiles when pupils tickle his tummy – and the pet pig teaches them life skills.
The year-old porker is part of an innovative project.
Breeder Kew Little Pigs introduces micro pigs to schools to teach teamwork and empathy.
Olivia Goddard, a teacher at Waterside Primary Academy in Chesham, Bucks, said: “Not only has it helped the children teaching them responsibility and nurturing, but it is also very good with the wellbeing side too.”
Olivia Mikhail, owner of kewlittlepigs.com, which is also a family attraction, said: “We hope that by teaching children how to care for a pet, they will grow up to become more responsible adults.”
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Covid spark rehoming arises
SOARING numbers of baby guinea pigs, rabbits and kittens need new homes, after owners were unable to get pets neutered in the pandemic, charity Blue Cross has revealed.
Latest figures from the group, which is celebrating its 125th birthday, show that in 2021 there was a 23 per cent increase in rabbits and guinea pigs needing new homes compared to the year before – and the upward trend is continuing.
The charity is also seeing a rise in kittens needing homes, who are either found as strays or have come from unplanned litters.
A spokesman said: “Blue Cross has seen a rise in the number of small pets needing to be rehomed – particularly more litters of baby pets.
“This is likely due to owners not being able to get pets neutered during the pandemic, and people taking on a small pet may not have realized that siblings will mate and that their pets may not have been sexed properly by the seller.”
Blue Cross has seen a 26 per cent increase in people seeking help now compared to 2018.
Former Strictly Come Dancing star Bill Bailey, who has rescued parrots, cockatoos, ducks, chickens and two dogs from Bali, dressed as a Pearly King to recreate photos from 125 years ago to celebrate the charity’s anniversary.
He said: “Congratulations Blue Cross on reaching your milestone.”
Since its formation, the charity estimates it has positively affected around 38 million people’s lives.