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) SHOULD you brush a cat’s teeth?
I know you do it for dogs, but do felines need it too?
Albert Edwards, Cleethorpes, Lincs
Sean says: You should, but good luck with that!
Most cats will not tolerate it and it’s a sure-fire way to ruin your bond.
So I recommend feeding at least some dry diet food and dental chews.
Also, be prepared that there will come a time when your cat needs a dental scale and polish at the vets.
They are not trying to get you to spend money, they recommend it to make sure your cat’s mouth stays clean, comfortable and healthy.
Most cats need this procedure a few times in their lives.
If it’s never done, it can lead to seriously sore gums, root abscesses and other problems.
Got a question for Sean?
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Q) HOW often should I give my rescue greyhound Mike a bath?
He’s a definite soap-dodger.
As soon as he realizes it’s bath time, he runs for the hills.
How can I encourage him that it’s OK?
Simon Wood, Leeds
Sean says: It depends how dirty, smelly or greasy he gets — and your personal odor threshold.
You never want to wash a dog too often as it does rinse away the natural oils that protect their skin and gives them a glossy coat.
Weekly baths are too much.
Grooming him with an appropriate brush can be a good substitute to remove dead hair and any dried mud.
For a greyhound with a short, smooth coat, a soft brush or rubber slicker works well.
Q) I KEEP seeing a local woman out and about walking her cat on a lead and I wonder if the cat enjoys it or not.
The animal always seems perfectly happy, but can you really train a cat to behave like a dog?
And are there collars and harnesses available especially for our feline friends?
Norman Davies, Hemel Hempstead, Herts
Sean says: I’ve seen this a few times too. Certainly the cat may enjoy it, getting lots of exercise and mental stimulation that it wouldn’t get if it’s kept indoors the rest of the time.
There are benefits in that the cat is safe from road traffic or conflicts with other cats, and also wildlife is safe from being hunted. But it can also carry risks.
What happens, for example, if a loose dog comes along and attacks your cat?
Or your cat spooks at something and can’t escape, ending up getting wrapped up and biting the owner or breaking free and getting lost?
I’ve seen a cat freak out and escape from a vet waiting room when the owner brought it in on his shoulder on a lead.
There are some situations where it’s just not appropriate.
Q) DO pigeons carry a lot of diseases?
I’m worried because our neighbors keep them.
Could pigeons be responsible for spreading diseases such as worms, fleas or canker, which I know is transmitted very easily?
Maggie Chesterton, Halifax
Sean says: No more than other birds really, and often less if their owner treats them with medicated feed for worms or treats their loft regularly to prevent parasites.
You don’t mention if your concern for them spreading disease is for other birds, or for you and your family.
There is very little risk of contracting any disease from your neighbours’ pigeons — you would need to be in close contact with them.
They don’t carry fleas that transmit to dogs or cats.
Canker is a disease that affects wild birds — doves, pigeons and finches in particular — but your neighbours’ pigeons are more likely to contract that from wild birds than the other way around.
Cleaning bird feeders regularly is important to minimize the risk of it spreading in your garden.
star of the week
BUBBLES has bounced back from the brink of death and now helps fund-raise for other sick or abandoned rabbits as the face of a West Midlands rehoming charity.
The nine-year-old is one of six permanent residents at Fat Fluffs Rabbit Rescue in Hampton in Arden, which has seen a sharp increase in numbers of abandoned pets.
Trustee Jocelyn Bell, 63, said: “Bubbles was handed over to us with badly aligned teeth and during a trip to the vets a growth turned out to be a cancerous kidney and resulted in one of her kidneys being removed.
“She then suffered from a terrible face abscess and now has to have monthly teeth appointments as they are not growing correctly.
“Despite all she has suffered, she has such a sweet nature that we’ve decided to keep her as a permanent resident.
“She really is the bounce-back bunny.”
WIN: Pet Portrait
RESIDENT animal artist Karly Martine at Plymouth’s Kaya Gallery specializes in life-like pencil sketches of everything from pups to parrots.
To win a £280 A3 portrait of your pet, send an email headed PET PORTRAIT to email@example.com by April 17.
Terms and conditions apply.
Cat charities are feeling chipper
PET rescue charities are welcoming plans for compulsory microchipping of all cats – and improvements to the current databases where owners of lost, stolen or killed pets can be traced.
Under new proposals from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the existing system is to be streamlined to make it easier to reunite owners and lost pets.
Stefan Blakiston Moore, senior advocacy officer for Cats Protection, said: “We fully support proposals for a single point of access to microchipping records.
“Every day, we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who care for them – whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.”
David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “We’d support the introduction of a single, central database of microchipped cats and dogs.”
Justine Shotton, British Veterinary Association president, added: “Streamlining the system and driving up standards would help to spare heartache for many pet owners and start things on a positive footing when compulsory cat microchipping is rolled out next year.”