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) I HAVE a house bunny called Jinty who is 13 months old and adorable but likes to dig up my carpet and chew through wires.
I wanted to get another one to keep her company but was told it would take at least three weeks for her to get used to that, and in that time to keep them separated or they would fight to the death. Is that true?
Samantha Webb, Glasgow
A) First, allow Jinty to express natural rabbit behaviour. Provide tunnels, deep litter areas to dig in, quality hay and wooden chews — so carpet or wires in your home are not targeted.
Second, we should always keep rabbits together, at least in pairs, as they are social animals. There is information online about this. With careful selection, and introduction, the risk of a serious fight is minimal.
Q) DO cats know when it’s your bedtime?
Every night at 10pm, my cat Meg comes up and meows at me. I usually go to bed at this time unless working late. It’s like she’s telling me it’s time.
Kelly Webb, Rotherham
A) Animals pick up on cues to tell the time. It might be that an increase in traffic at around 3pm says the kids will soon be home from school. Or the credits after the evening news mean bedtime is next.
She might be tuned in to your rituals or body language and know, as you pour that glass of water late at night, that you’ll be up the stairs within a few minutes.
Q) MY ten-year-old Border Collie Harvey is still “intact”, and my mum recently got a younger rescue dog from Romania called Bruno that has been neutered.
The dogs have met twice now and both times Harvey has behaved like Bruno is a female dog in season — and tried to hump him.
Poor Bruno doesn’t know what’s going on and Harvey is excited the whole time, so it’s impossible for either of them, or us, to relax. What can we do?
Jackie White, Ashford, Surrey
A) Harvey is still intact, with little outlet for those urges, so it might only take the slightest thing to make him frisky.
A new dog like Bruno, the exotic Romanian beauty, acting submissively in his new surroundings might be an appealing prospect for Harvey right now.
But joking aside, dogs hump other dogs through excitement, while working out status or who’s taking the lead, or maybe just because it feels good.
If it’s a problem, would you consider neutering Harvey? At his age, he’s had the benefits of being entire, but is now in the risk zone for testosterone-related issues like testicular tumours and prostate problems.
Q) OUR 13-year-old rescue cat Buttercup was always affectionate but has started to bite my wife’s hand as she pets her.
When I pet Buttercup she loves it, and she gets on great with two young children who come to visit us. It is very out of character.
Peter Richardson, Ramsgate, Kent
A) I wonder if she is anticipating something unpleasant when your wife strokes her. At her age she may have arthritis in her neck or back.
Maybe, recently, your wife stroked her and she felt pain. It’s just a theory, but it’s odd she bites only one person.
Otherwise, I wonder if she just wants some rough-and-tumble play with your wife but prefers gentle affection from you and the kids. It’s a bit mysterious and sometimes we just never know.
Star of the week
DIXIE and Trixie are the cat’s whiskers at slimming.
The ten-year-olds were handed in to the Cats Protection Bredhurst Adoption Centre in Kent last summer because they were overweight.
Retired carer Christine Hughes, from Rochester, took them in.
Since October, Dixie has dropped from 20lb to 17lb and Trixie from just under 12lb to 10lb.
Christine, 62, said: “We’d not long lost our cat and when we saw ‘the girls needed a home, we wanted to give them a second chance, as they are older and need more expensive food and monthly trips to the vet.
“It’s lovely seeing them enjoy life and cuddling up together.”
WIN: Grooming set
PAMPER your pet with a Skouts Honor grooming bundle, kind to skin and fur (skoutshonor.com).
It contains shampoo, conditioner, deodorising spray, sanitiser and paw balm – all biodegradable and eco-friendly, with ingredients to support natural bacteria and guard against excessive shedding, itching, dryness and odour.
We have five sets to give away, each worth £50. For a chance to win one, email SKOUTSHONOR to email@example.com.
Pokemon is perfect preparation
MILLENNIAL pet owners who played with Pokemon and Tamagotchi say the experience helped set them up for real-life responsibility.
Now those kids are in their twenties or thirties – and 48 per cent believe their youthful gaming has made them better owners.
A study of the link between pet ownership and playing with digital companions was carried out by FirstVet.
Co-founder David Prien said: “The pet-raising simulators allowed many children to have direct responsibility for the health of an animal, albeit digital.
“This is a revolutionary development in the sense that, at an early age, children were placed in sole charge of caring for a being that required attention and love. So when it comes to looking after real pets, these ingrained instincts are often still there.”
Of the 1,200 young people who took part in the study, 56 per cent thought they had more empathy towards their real pet thanks to growing up with virtual ones.
More than a third of UK pet owners are aged 24-35, while 2.1 million people welcomed a new pet in lockdown.
A further 1.8 million plan to add a pet to their family according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association.
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