From a barking cocker to a dog urinating indoors – 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. 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 horse Rusty’s field is on a public footpath and well-meaning walkers keep giving him snacks.

I’m obviously worried about his weight but I’m also bothered he could be given something that’s poisonous to him.

Is there anything I should be particularly mindful of?

Ali Taylor, Appleton, Cheshire

Sean says: Best thing to do here is to place signage telling passers-by that it can be harmful to feed other people’s horses.

Perhaps use wording such as: “Some of these horses are prone to painful, even fatal, laminitis if they are fed unsuitable treats or become overweight. Please refrain from feeding them.”

That should do it.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected]

Q) I GOT my son a pet rabbit named Benji over the summer and it has an outdoor run and hutch.

Should I be doing anything different with its diet or bedding during the winter to keep it healthy and cosy?

Mia Roberts, Anglesey

Sean says: You could definitely do with some insulation of the hutch, with plastic and blankets, plenty of deep bedding with straw and wood shavings, and protection from wind or drafts if possible.

Better still, an enclosure in a garage or shed, with some outdoor access to a run.
And I always have to mention that a single rabbit really does live a sad life.

They are extremely social animals in the wild, so perhaps looking at getting Benji a rabbit friend would be the best thing.

Q) MY French Bulldog Ollie is two but still seems to pee in the house – and especially on the sofa.

This happens even though he goes out for a walk three times a day and puppy pads are laid down for him through the night.

Shona Byrne, Edinburgh

Sean says: Oh dear Ollie, you’re too old for that malarkey. The problem, when weeing indoors becomes ingrained, is usually to do with scent.

Dogs’ noses are so much more sensitive than ours. Did you know dogs have more than 220million scent receptors in their noses? We have only five million.

So despite how much you think you’ve cleaned up after Ollie, he’s likely to still smell urine where he’s peed.

And the scent of urine is like a beacon to go in the same place again.

Limit his access to the couch for the time being and give everything a deep clean or shampoo, using a pet deodoriser spray afterwards.

Get him out way more than he needs for wee breaks and heap praise on him when he goes where he’s supposed to.

Q) WE have a three-year-old working Cocker called Molly. When she’s let off her lead she barks constantly.

Every new field, she barks like crazy. It’s awful. On the beach it’s all the time. I don’t know how to deal with this. She’s brilliant in the house.

Maria Spradbury, Leicester

Sean says: This goes with the territory of having a working cocker, I’m afraid. They are nothing if not eager and excitable.

If you want to train her to bark less, it’s important not to unwittingly reward the barking. By shouting at her, for example, she may just think you’re joining in.

It’s worthwhile getting a qualified animal behaviourist to come with you on a walk, as often it’s really subtle factors they’ll observe between you and Molly that will solve the issue.

Star of the week

LHASA Apso Oliver escaped the clutches of the canine meat trade in China and now raises funds to help other dogs do the same.

When he was rescued from a dog meat truck in China, he weighed just five kilos and had broken ribs.

After recovering at the NoToDogMeat charity’s shelter in Beijing, he travelled to London to start a new life with Richard Godfrey.

Richard, 61, a map maker, said: “Oliver is very sensitive. He can’t bear hearing dogs yelping on TV, that really upsets him. But he is growing in confidence and loves spreading the message about NoToDogMeat’s work.”

Oliver also stars in the charity’s Christmas calendar. Buy one for £10 at notodogmeat.com.

WIN: Dog coat

MAKE sure your dog can be seen while walking during the dark nights and mornings this winter.

Keela Outdoors’ high-visibility dog coat comes with reflective highlights to keep your pet safe.

They will stay cosy and warm, too, because the coats are waterproof and windproof with a fleece lining.

We have seven to give away, worth £35 each.

To enter, visit keelaoutdoors.com to find your dog’s size, and send an email marked KEELA to [email protected]

  • T&Cs apply. Entries close January 2, 2022.

Christmas cuddles for dumped cats

CAT lover Hannah Varney will be wishing a Meowy Christmas to abandoned moggies on December 25.

Hannah, 28, volunteers at the Cats Protection Eastbourne adoption centre in East Sussex and this will be her third year caring for them on Christmas Day.

Hannah, a leisure centre supervisor, will be feeding her feline friends, cleaning litter trays, making sure every cat gets a festive treat and giving lots of cuddles.

She said: “I always offer to help on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“To me, it’s a no-brainer – it’s a pleasure to be able to help.

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“We arrive around 8am, give the cats their breakfast and any medication they may need, make sure their pens are in order and give them a really good fuss.

“All the cats have their own Christmas cracker, made using toilet roll tubes filled with a new toy and a few treats.

“It can be moving – especially in the case of cats that have had a hard time, being strays.

“It gives you a warm glow to see them safe and snug in their pens while they wait to find a new owner.”

During the pandemic the cat population rose from 10.2million to 10.8million but sadly around 4,000 cats are at Cats Protection centres this Christmas.

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