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From leaving animals while you go on holiday to a headbutting cat – 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.

Sean can keep pets happy and healthy

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Sean can keep pets happy and healthyCredit: Doug Seeburg – The Sun
Sean is on a mission to help our pets and is available to answer your questions, big or small

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Sean is on a mission to help our pets and is available to answer your questions, big or smallCredit: Getty

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.”

If you want him to answer a question for YOU simply email him at vet@the-sun.co.uk.

Q) SOON I will be leaving my kitten Sally, who I got in the first ­lockdown, for two weeks.

I’m visiting my daughter overseas, and I am so worried about leaving my pet in a cattery.

Do you have any advice? It feels like such a long time and I don’t know if she will cope.

Carla Finn, Telford, Shropshire

A) There are some great services available that allow you to find a trustworthy house and pet-sitter for when you go away.

It means added security, as your home isn’t standing empty, and no stress for Sally being taken out of her own surroundings.

If you’re not keen on someone staying in your home, there may be local pet services that will come to visit twice a day to feed and interact with her.

Your local vet practice will most likely have recommendations if you cannot find someone online.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk

Q) I’VE recently adopted a two-year-old cat called Minnie from a local rescue centre.

She is so sweet natured but there is one thing she does that is a bit odd. She keeps headbutting me.

A cat-loving friend has said this is a sign of affection. Is it really?

Sheila Barnett, Keadby, Lincolnshire

A) Yes it is! Consider yourself privileged to have entered her inner circle of trust.

Cats like to headbutt and rub their faces alongside comrades and friends to release a feelgood pheromone called “feline facial fraction”.

It helps them to bond with others and familiarise them with the colony scent. It’s released from scent glands in the forehead and cheeks mostly.

So embrace those headbutts and perhaps share a gentle one back with Minnie to return the favour.

Q) MY 11-year-old cat, Cotty, gets really stressed when she has to go in the cat carrier.

She wees, poos, salivates and the last time she was violently sick, panting like a dog and her heart was beating so fast I was worried she was going to have a heart attack. Is there anything I can do to help?

Jean Hughes, Walsall

A) That’s stressful for you, your cat and no doubt your vets, too when she comes in like that. There are a few calming aids that you can pop in her food the day of and before a trip in the carrier.

There is also Feliway spray which has a calming effect, but with that severe a reaction I’m concerned these aids will barely touch the sides when it comes to her anxiety.

Anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed by your vet if it’s a necessary visit but you don’t mention why you are putting her in a carrier. If you take her with you on holiday or trips frequently, I’d recommend leaving her home with a cat sitter rather than stress her like this.

Q) I HAVE an Alsatian called Barney who is four and has started limping after a long walk.

I am worried it is his cruciate. How can you tell if it is or it isn’t? It is often after a big walk. What else could it be?

Sam Winters, Blackpool

A) Technically it could be anything from his toe to his spine, which is why a physical exam by his vet is a great idea to try to work out the exact place he’s painful.

A limp definitely says pain is involved. It could be his cruciate ligament in his knee. This ligament often tears when dogs come to an abrupt stop during strenuous exercise.

German Shepherds (or Alsatians to use their old name) can also be prone to hip dysplasia. Again, a trip to the vets is the best option.

Star of the week

BRAVE police dog Bart isn’t just a canine crime fighter, he’s also helping to protect other dogs.

Bart, seven, is part of Cheshire Police’s dogs unit and his partner is PC Kelly Walker, 37, from Broughton, North Wales.

Bart won a Thin Blue Paw award for bravery

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Bart won a Thin Blue Paw award for bravery

Bart tracks suspects, is trained to support firearms officers and earlier this year sniffed out a man who had assaulted his partner and was threatening officers with a knife.

Bart sliced his toe after stepping on glass in the search but carried on, winning a Thin Blue Paw award for bravery.

He has since tested body armour for dogs.

Kelly said: “Bart and I worked with a design firm to develop armour dogs wear as a harness.

“He is my partner – we’ve built such a bond.”

Win: Grooming Kit

PAMPER your pooch with The Clean Dog Co’s sustainable dog grooming bundle. Try out a bottle of cruelty-free shampoo, lightweight towel and travel bag, and a fur massager.

Each kit is worth £50 and we have five to give away. See thecleandog company.com.

To enter, send an email titled CLEANDOGCO to sundaypets@the-sun. co.uk.

T&Cs apply. Entries close October 10.

Play peek-a-boo with your chicken

TRICKS aren’t just for dogs to learn – chickens can be just as talented.

Animal trainer Joe Nutkins says she has taught her feathered friends to respond to cues for food and drink and to jump through hoops and tunnels and even play peek-a-boo games.

Chickens can do tricks just like dogs can and can improve their enrichment

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Chickens can do tricks just like dogs can and can improve their enrichment

There are 1.5million pet chickens in the UK, according to figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, and around 65,000 battery hens are rehomed each year.

Joe, 42, from Harwich, Essex, says: “Teaching them tricks provides enrichment for your chickens and means you improve your bond with them.

“Chickens are easy to train as long as you have food – they love peas, sweetcorn, blueberries or a little pot of toasted maize.”

Joe, who lives with 26 rescue hens, 12 ducks and two Norfolk terriers, founded National Pet Tricks Day, on September 30.

She says: “Tricks have practical uses for all kinds of birds and small furries.

“Having a pet that will co-operate by giving a paw or claw is useful for trimming nails or checking paws.

“Helping pets relax when being handled means it’s easier to give medication and check their teeth.”

Pet parents yell one phrase nearly 50 times a year but can you guess what it is?





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