From a barking dog in EastEnders to a cat that won’t stay home – your pet questions answered
Its mission is to help our pets. . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.
Sean, who is the chief veterinarian for custom pet food company tails.com, has been answering owners’ questions for ten years. He says, “If your pet is acting weird or is under bad weather, or if you want to know more about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep animals happy and healthy.
Q) WHY does my dog Bruno howl to the EastEnders theme music?
I don’t know if he’s angry or likes it, but he says it “welly”.
What is he trying to tell me? I’m confused.
Anita Black, Maidstone, Ken
Sean says: He’s trying to tell you it was Dirty Den all along! Or perhaps lament the recent loss of the late great June Brown aka Dot Cotton?
Either he really looks into it, or he’s lamenting, “Oh sheesh, not that theater festival yet.”
I’m sure he entertains you all and commands attention when he does, in which case it’s rewarding for him to keep going.
Well done Bruno.
Q) MY Marmalade Ginger Cat is terrorizing the neighbors Labrador dog.
He’s sitting on the fence between our gardens, taunting him and spitting.
But I’m afraid if he loses his balance, he’ll be fried.
How can I stop it?
John Dudley, Plymouth
Sean says: The marmalade cannot be stopped. He runs this street.
No, but seriously, it’s a risky strategy.
You can install nets or anti-cat devices above the fence to prevent it from walking on it.
As you say, a fall in the next garden could be catastrophic, although in my experience cats like Marmalade can be a dicey prospect to tackle, even for Labradors, which are notoriously all barking and non-biting.
Q) I HAVE an adorable 14 year old black and white cat, Banjo, who I got from a foster home in Sussex seven years ago.
He loves his house and his garden, but for a year now he hasn’t come home except for his food. He then shoots and I barely see him.
The problem is that he sleeps even in wet and cold weather. It was frozen and sometimes soaked.
I have now built him a little wigwam in which he sleeps, but it is very cold and very drafty.
I don’t know what to do to encourage him to stay inside. Do you have any suggestions?
Roger Lee, Peacehaven, East Sussex
Sean says: Has anything changed on the inside or have new human or animal family members arrived?
Do you have any other cats he might not get along with very well?
It’s hard to just guess what triggered this change in behavior.
But it would be a good idea, especially at his age, to build or buy him something sturdy, warm, sheltered and comfortable outside.
So at least he could properly get out of the elements to sleep if he wants to be an outdoor-only cat.
Does he have a cat flap to come and go as he pleases? This could be useful if currently you have to be there to physically let him in.
And maybe he has a totally different schedule than you.
Q) MY Corn Snake Colin has a shedding problem, especially around the eyes.
I have logs in his tank so he can graze them. What do you recommend?
Brian Atkins, Poole, Dorset
Sean says: He needs more humidity, even an area of his enclosure that maintains high humidity. We call this wet skin.
So provide a large storage bin or plastic box with an entry hole cut in the lid.
Inside, put wet sphagnum moss and hide it under something in the warm part of the vivarium.
That way he can go when it’s time to get rid of it and next time his skin will be well hydrated and hopefully come off in one piece, including those eye caps.
If that doesn’t happen, take Colin to a veterinarian who knows about reptiles, who will help you remove them safely.
star of the week
JESSE the parrot became mute and tore his feathers out of grief after his owner died.
But now that he has a new home – with Rachel Leather, 42, and her partner Carl Donoghue, 43, from Aberdare, Glamorgan – he loves singing songs, cracking jokes and pulling pranks.
Rachel says, “I had Carl oil all the doors in the house because there was a creaking sound that was driving me crazy.
“We realized it was Jesse pulling a prank. When I say to Jesse, ‘You’re funny,’ he goes, ‘Yeah, that’s hilarious.’
Rachel, who runs pet trauma recovery company Animal Behavior Consultations, adds: “He was shut down and stressed out.
“Then we realized that all that language was there in him.”
WINS: Vax Duo
ALMOST nine out of ten of us spend time each week cleaning up spills and stains, according to floor care specialist Vax.
A third of us, meanwhile, admit to hiding a carpet stain with a cleverly placed piece of furniture or rug.
Now Vax is offering a Paws & Claws Reader, Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Cordless Pet and Car Vacuum, worth £299.99 AND a new Vax SpotWash Home Duo Spot Cleaner worth £149 £.99.
To enter, send an email titled VAX to [email protected] by May 8. See vax.co.uk. The T&Cs apply.
Make first aid know-how a priority
Readers of PAWS and Claws are encouraged to learn basic canine first aid – and check to see if their dog walker, pet sitter or groomer has the skills to save the life of their precious friend.
The Safe Pets and People campaign, led by national qualifications provider, the iPET Network, is calling for mandatory first aid qualifications for all UK pet professionals.
Ambassador Rachel Bean, a registered veterinary nurse, said: “I don’t think many people realize that their dog walker, groomer or pet sitter may not know what to do.
“And more broadly, the more people who know these skills, the better.”
Pet company Yappy.com is supporting the campaign and its 33 employees – 17 of whom take dogs to work – have already learned canine rescue techniques.
Spokeswoman Alison Parsons said: “As a pet-centric company, their well-being is a priority in our office environment.”
Rachel said that in a pet emergency, the first step is to stay calm.
She added: “Clear the throat of obstructions and if your dog is unconscious, stick the tongue out and to the side.
“Stop any bleeding – use hand pressure if necessary before applying bandages.”