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) MY parrot Pete is clever but swears dreadfully. When the doorbell goes, it’s embarrassing.
Is there a way to train the potty mouth off him?
RITA COX, Sevenoaks, Kent
Sean says: Sorry, Rita, I can’t help but chuckle when I hear about a foul-mouthed parrot. It happens a lot.
Obviously it is best not to teach your parrot swear words in the first place but if you already have a bird turning the air blue, that does not help much.
So the way to tackle this is to completely ignore any cursing in the future, and focus on teaching Pete new words and phrases.
If he swears when the doorbell goes, ignore it — and ask any visitors to ignore him too. He likely does it for attention. When he doesn’t curse, reward him with a “good boy” and introduce a new greeting, such as: “Who’s there?”
Eventually he’ll learn that it’s more rewarding to say the new greeting than an old potty-mouth version.
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to [email protected].
Q) OUR ten-year-old srollie Shep is a brilliant dog but lately he is a bit stiff after laying down.
Is there something I can give him?
DAVE BARNES, Paignton, Devon
Sean says: He could have pulled a muscle and isn’t restraining it enough to get better.
He could have a slight disc problem in his back, or it could just be age catching up with him and a touch of arthritis causing his joints to become stiff and sore at times.
Get him in for a physical examination with your vet. I’ll bet it’s all very manageable. You can’t keep a good sprollie down, after all.
Q) I HAVE a 21-month-old, 9kg shih-tzu called Peggi who won’t eat her dog food.
She has half a sausage and a drink of milk in a morning, then chew sticks at 11am and 3pm. At 6pm I put her meal out. She sniffs it and walks away. At 8pm, she has another stick.
There is dry food out as well but that goes down very slowly.
HELEN WRIGHT, Hull
Sean says: Why would she want to eat her dinner with all that snacking throughout the day? Half a sausage for a shih-tzu is like us eating a full English breakfast.
Think how much smaller Peggi’s stomach and body are than yours or mine.
Milk is also heavily calorific for a small dog. Three chew sticks in a single day? Way too much. These are treats to be used sparingly. If she learns that when she turns up her nose at her regular food, there is a better, more delicious treat coming — and she’s not even hungry when it gets to dinner time — then of course she’ll wait.
At nine kilos I imagine she’s a tad overweight — and she won’t be getting a balanced diet either.
Cut out the sausage, milk and at least two chew sticks (give her half of one stick twice daily).
If she doesn’t eat her dinner, then she goes hungry that evening. Some tough love is needed.
Q) MY four-year-old ginger tomcat Bob has had a problem with his front left leg since December but as soon as his pain medication stops, he limps again.
He’s had X-rays and repeated checks. Any suggestions?
DAVID WRIGHT, Clipston, Northants
Sean says: That’s a tricky one and difficult to answer without examining Bob and his X-rays.
It could be soft-tissue injury or something more deep-rooted causing internal inflammation when he comes off the medication.
A foreign body such as a splinter or something in his foot could cause this pattern and wouldn’t always show on X-ray, especially if made of wood.
Take him for a repeat examination when he is visibly lame so your vet can find the source.
stars of the week
FORMER street dog Arthur is taking on Crufts in the ultimate wags-to-riches tale.
The 12-year-old cross was rescued from a Romanian shelter by Emily Galway, 25, of Harrogate, North Yorks.
Arthur’s kind nature means he is ideally suited to visiting care-home residents. He will compete next month in the Golden Oldie category of Scruffts – the show for cross-breeds.
Emily said: “From Arthur living on the streets four years ago, in a terrible state, to now counting down until our first Crufts outing and walking on the famous green carpet together is absolutely amazing.
“I did a DNA test and he’s a proper Heinz 57 – a bit of poodle, wheaten terrier, bearded collie and Maltese.
“He loves giving joy to people and having cuddles.”
WIN: CLEANING PACK
EVERY pet owner needs a helping hand now and then.
And 15 of our readers can each win the ultimate bundle of Dr Beckmann cleaning products worth £18.
For a chance to win, send an email headed DR BECKMANN to [email protected] by March 13.
Get crafty to keep cat costs low
AS worried shoppers see prices soar, Cats Protection says homemade toys and even cardboard beds can save owners cash while still keeping pets happy.
The charity’s Sarah Elliott said: “It’s understandable that many people will be looking at how they can make savings around the home, and that may include pet care.
“While some costs can’t be avoided, such as food and routine vaccinations, with some simple measures the expense of keeping a cat can be kept relatively low.”
For instance, egg boxes or small cardboard boxes with scrunched-up newspaper inside make perfect puzzle feeders for felines. Making your own would save you around £12 compared to buying a typical product from a shop.
Fill an old sock with a couple of spoonfuls of dried catnip, tie off the end and give your cat to enjoy as a toy, saving £7.
For a cost-effective scratching post, look out for old carpet samples, which are often free or very cheap at carpet shops.
Simply fix them to a hard surface, saving £15 upwards. Also, give cats water instead of milk.
For more money-saving ideas, see cats.org.uk.
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