From a hamster playing dead to cataract surgery for a dog – 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) MY Diddles hamster sometimes likes to sleep on its back with its paws up.
Several times I thought he was dead. He is perfectly happy. Is that a little weird?
Rose Scott, Burnley
Sean says: It looks like a personality quirk that makes Diddles Diddles.
Nothing to worry about.
He may just find this position comfortable.
When my brother and I were young, we once found our hamster stiff as a board, curled up in his nest.
My brother was about to bury him before I realized he was breathing, just very slowly.
It turned out that he fell into torpor because it was very cold in the room he was in because the heating had turned off. Barely!.
Q) I am considering cataract surgery for my dog.
Maximus is a nine-year-old Siberian Husky who lost his sight to cataracts.
But do you think it’s too painful to make him undergo an operation?
Jamie West, Hexham, Northumberland
Sean says: No, I don’t, especially not in a nine-year-old Husky dog who may still be many years old.
And it is better to be able to see than not.
Of course, the surgery requires general anesthesia which is not without risk, and very specialized skills and equipment, so it is naturally an expensive procedure too.
Hope you have pet insurance that will cover it.
I always say that age is not a disease, and we assess each dog as an individual when preparing for surgery.
Q) EVERY morning at 4:15 a.m. sharp, my two-year-old male Ragdoll cat, Teddy, wakes me up crying to go outside.
He has a litter box upstairs and downstairs but does not use them.
I don’t know if it’s the toilet he needs or if he just wants to go out.
He sleeps during the day and goes out around 5 p.m. and usually comes back around 9 p.m.
He’s a great mouser, who always brings them home. Ideas?
Jackie Olkowicz, Walford
Sean says: It may seem obvious, but have you considered a pet door?
Allowing your cat to come and go as it pleases is how most people solve this problem.
Whether it’s going outside in a “catio”, an enclosure in your garden that protects them and wildlife, or allowing them to roam freely.
You can get pet doors that only let your cat in by reading a device on their collar or even their microchip.
Let’s also not forget that cats like to remind us that we are their staff, so that could be it.
You can also try a new routine by keeping it indoors at night to save local wildlife.
Q) I HAVE a 10 month old German Shepherd who eats his poo.
I tried everything, ignoring him, telling him to let it go, but nothing helped.
Otherwise, Xyantra is in perfect health, in addition to being very greedy.
She is never left alone. Any advice would help.
Caroline Forrest, Stoke On Trent
Sean says: Eating poop (or coprophagy to give it the technical term) is normal behavior for dogs.
They salvaged from our landfills during domestication, and this included our toilet or latrine sites.
They also learn it from their mother when she cleans up by eating the poop of the puppies in the den when they are young to keep it tidy.
Some dogs carry on this habit later in life, viewing poop as a valuable food source.
There are several approaches to deal with it. Try not to act like you’re competing for Xyanthra’s poo.
Work on distracting her with high-reward treats and as a last resort try lacing the poop with something like Tabasco or a pet-safe bitter spray before she has a chance to access it so she begins to make negative associations with it.
star of the week
GOZO the Maltese helped his owner recover from a stroke and is now running a campaign celebrating how pets have improved their owners’ mental health.
The Pets As Therapy (PAT) charity and North Devon Hospice have teamed up to invite people to share their stories and help others.
Paul Jewels, 76, from Braunton, Devon, caught Gozo after a stroke, following encouragement from his grandchildren.
Gozo became a PAT dog and the duo won a Volunteer Queens Award for their visits to North Devon Hospice.
Paul said: “Gozo has an incredible ability to make people smile.”
WIN: SHARK PET VACUUM
WE has teamed up with Shark to give one lucky reader a cordless pet vacuum worth £279.99.
Suitable for both carpets and hard floors, its hair removal technology and pet tool means it can tackle the hair of any puppy or cat and leave your home lint free.
To enter, send an email titled SHARK to Sunday [email protected] before June 26.
To find out more, visit sharkclean.co.uk. The T&Cs apply.
THE BIGGEST OWNER QUESTIONS
The most pressing pet owner posers have been revealed in an online poll.
The most searched questions online include: “Does my pet love me?”, “Why is my dog biting the wind so much?” and even: “Do cats have nine lives?”
Readly.com and insurer cliverton.co.uk found that owners turn to the internet for three pet-related questions per month, on average.
Pet health is sought by 59% and diet/nutrition by 44%, while 39% want help with unusual behavior.
Barking and canine obesity are top concerns for dog owners, while cat owners seek advice on tummy aches and feline pancytopenia.
Jo Hemmings, cat owner and behavioral psychologist, said: “No matter what animal you own – from terrier to tarantula – you want the best for it.
“Pets are at the heart of family life, so it’s only natural that people want to be educated on how to be the best owner possible.
Chris Crouchman of Readly added: “There are no silly questions when it comes to your pet.
“Our research shows that other pet owners will also have researched the same issue (as you).”