From anxious pups to budgies who won't eat — our vet answers your queries

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) MY budgie Beatrice is six months old and has been off her food for the past week.

I put plenty of water and a cuttlefish in her cage and she has seeds and sprouting seeds from the pet shop.

Could she be bored of her diet? What should I do?

Rita Cox, 72, Sevenoaks, Kent

A) Birds hide their illness very well. In the wild, a sick bird gets quickly picked off by a predator.

So I’m always worried if a bird isn’t eating all of a sudden. Fumes of any kind can make birds unwell.

Overheating non-stick pans can be deadly for example. Scented candles or plug-in air fresheners can irritate a bird’s sensitive airway too.

Other causes could be an infection, a stuck egg (though she’s a little young for that) or even a seed stuck in her nostril or throat.

Offer her some greens like lettuce, dandelion or groundsel from an un­sprayed garden. If she refuses those, a vet check is definitely worthwhile.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) ONE of my dogs has been showing aggression towards the other.

Bella, my two-year-old Bulldog has been really vicious towards Harry, seven, a wire fox terrier, and now it’s a daily occurrence. Harry retaliates, causing harm to Bella.

It generally seems to happen when I am about, not my husband, and I find it really hard to get them apart when things kick off. What can I do?

Debbie Farnhill, 28 Personal assistant, Barnsley

A) Could they be competing for something? Your attention, a preferred spot to rest, food, a favourite toy? Or is it rough play that eventually escalates to full-on fighting?

There are so many causes for dog aggression within the same household. I would strongly advise you get a behaviourist, accredited by the Association

Of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, to assess. It’s a worthwhile investment, as, longer term, the only solu­tion may be rehoming one of your dogs.

Q) I HAVE a one-year-old rabbit, Pete. His friend, a guinea pig that he lived with, has died.

Should I get him a new friend and can they get lonely as he seems really down and off his food?

Sharon Dodds, 48 Clerical manager, Exeter

A) You absolutely should get Pete a friend, but contrary to popular advice, it shouldn’t be a guinea pig. It should be another rabbit.

It’s actually cruel to keep rabbits alone, or without a member of their own species, as they are highly social.

Plenty of animal rescue shelters would happily rehome a lovely female rabbit, perfect company for Pete. As long as both are neutered. They don’t say “at it like rabbits” for nothing.

Q) MY rescue greyhound Woody is terrified of loud noises.

When he’s out on a walk, if there’s a bang, he will run home across a busy road from the park and don’t even get me started if there’s fireworks.

He shakes terribly and gets frozen. What can we do to help him?

Helen Maitland, 35 Administrator, Bexleyheath

A) Firstly put him on a long trailing lead attached to you. Not an extendable wire lead, which can cause harm if he darts off, but a solid long line. So if he does bolt he’s not a danger to himself or traffic.

Next, start a programme of desensitisation for noise phobias. It won’t be an easy or quick fix, but there are lots of resources online to use.

Star of the week

ADORABLE Lilly proves you CAN teach an old dog new tricks after she became an assistance dog aged six – that’s 42 in human years.

Lilly was adopted from a local rescue by Diane Johnson, 38, from Kettering, Northants.

When the full-time mum saw how she bonded with her girls Jessica, nine, and Esther, six – who both have autism – she took her for training with Pawsitive Squad.

Diane said: “Lilly knows how to cross the road safely, and in the home, she helps comfort the girls by giving pressure therapy where she lies on them if they feel overwhelmed.

“She has brought so much happiness.”

  • Learn more about the community interest firm at pawsitivesquad.co.uk.

WIN: photo lessons

PAWS up if you want to take gorgeous pet pics.

July 26 is National Dog Photography Day and snapper Kerry Jordan of dog photography site furandfables.com wants to flood the internet with adorable images.

Two readers can get expert tips from Kerry via her online course, worth £125.

For a chance to win, title an email FURDOGRAPHY to [email protected]

  • See the terms and conditions.

Sanctuary for homeless pet owners

HOMELESS pet owners will be able to find shelter thanks to a charity boost.

StreetVet, which provides support to animals living with homeless owners, has won a £41,500 prize.

The BetterWithPets cash, from pet food firm Purina, will go towards StreetVet’s Accredited Hostel Scheme, so it can make more refuges dog-friendly.

Charity co-founder Jade Statt said: “Depending on the location, between five and 25 per cent of homeless people have pets.

“But only ten per cent of hostels accept pets, so there’s a huge gap in supply and demand.

“We’ve worked with a number of hostels to help them become pet-friendly, where we provide vet care and essentials like muzzles and crates for dogs.

"We train staff so they feel confident having dogs around and know how to support owners and other residents.

"This funding means we can now do so much more. It’s wrong that anyone is forced to choose between a roof over their head or being with their pet – whether they are rough sleeping, or trying to get into rented accommodation.”

  • See streetvet.co.uk.

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