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.”
This week Sean helps a reader with a Biewer terrier Jolie that never stops licking[/caption]
Q) MY little Biewer terrier Jolie is a loving three-year-old but she never stops licking.
She is fussed and loved, although you can’t do anything with her or sit with her without her constantly doing it. It drives us all mad.
I’ve tried to train her to stop but she just can’t help herself.
I would so much appreciate your advice.
Maggie Machin, Rayleigh, Essex
A) You’ve got a licker on your hands.
I know this grosses people out, but I have to admit I find it quite amusing.
Being serious though, there is an ick factor for a reason.
It’s not the most hygienic of habits, knowing what else dogs put in their mouths — and most aren’t brushing their teeth every day, either.
But why do they lick? Well, for the most part, it’s a friendly, appeasement type of behaviour.
As pups in the wild, the dog family largely lick around their parents’ mouths when they return to the den in order to stimulate regurgitation of food.
It’s a way of saying, “I’m small and vulnerable, please take care of me.” That can run into adulthood.
The way we’ve bred domestic dogs as pets over generations, many now continue puppy-like behaviours well into their older years.
How to stop it? Reward-based training.
Use a command like “leave it” whenever Jolie licks, and reward her when she stops.
Repeat over and over again, including with other people.
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to email@example.com
Q) CAN a horse grieve for a companion?
I recently lost my old horse, Bow, who was a friend to eight-year-old gelding Blaze.
Now Blaze really seems down in the dumps.
What can I do to cheer him up?
I am thinking of getting another companion.
But does it need to be a horse?
We go for regular rides but I think he’s grieving.
Liz Green, Launceston, Cornwall
A) Absolutely, all animals grieve close companions to some extent, just as we would if we lost a good friend.
The thing with animals, though, is they do seem to bounce back in time, generally a lot quicker than we do.
Saying that, there are things you can do to help and it is largely about finding Blaze companionship again.
Another horse or pony is best.
Donkeys or maybe goats are often recommended as companions for horses but these are all totally different species and each needs social company of their own kind.
Q) APART from letting me give him a quick hug occasionally, my cat Tigger is pretty aloof.
He might come over now and again for a brief cuddle but he is really bad tempered.
I give Tigger his space but can I make him like me more, or at least pretend he does?
Emily Clarke, Newcastle upon Tyne
A) Some cats are just like that.
It sounds as if you may really want a dog, or at least a cat with a canine attitude.
There is a difference with being aloof and independent, or actually bad tempered.
I presume he doesn’t bite or hiss at you?
If not, take that as a win.
Some cats are just not that affectionate, happy to accept the occasional rub or just for you to give them food, water and shelter as your end of the bargain.
In return, Tigger will grace your household with his presence.
If he’s always been like this, you need to accept it.
If it is a recent change, have you considered he may have pain or discomfort?
Arthritis can creep up on our pets, for example, so a vet check is worthwhile if you are worried.
Star of the week
DELCEE the Parson Jack Russell is a life-saver for owner Julie Dowling after she was diagnosed with a breathing disorder.
The 51-year-old from Crayford, Kent, who is also deaf, was recently told she has COPD.
Delcee the Parson Jack Russell is a life-saver for owner Julie Dowling after she was diagnosed with a breathing disorder[/caption]
Julie says: “Delcee gets me out walking, which is vital for my breathing as I need to keep as healthy as possible. That is a life- saver for me.
“As I’m deaf, walking her allows me to meet other dog lovers, so I’ve made many new friends.
“She nearly died seven years ago from a rare blood disorder. I’m so lucky she’s transformed my life.”
WIN: £50 voucher
WE have joined forces with B&M to give five lucky pet lovers the chance to win a £50 in-store voucher
With a vast range of treats and essentials, you can find everything from cat and dog food, toys and accessories, to bird feeders and seed that will help them this winter.
To enter, send an email headed B&M to sundaypets@the-sun. co.uk by February 11 2024.
Visit bmstores. co.uk to see full range. T&Cs apply.
Cold-weather care for animals
A spokesman from the RSPCA said: “If the temperature drops below freezing, maybe move your bunny inside.
Owners have been told to take extra care of their little friends during the cold snaps we are facing[/caption]
“Guinea pigs should be indoors when it goes below 15C. If you must leave them outside, provide extra bedding and ensure their home is protected from bad weather with insulating but ventilating covers.”
Cats should have access to the house or another indoor area – and get your dog a coat.
The spokesman added: “For birds in aviaries, coops, or runs, provide plenty of dry and warm bedding such as straw, and cover enclosures to keep the wind and rain out.
“If you have a fish pond, check it every day to ensure the surface is not entirely frozen, as poisonous gas can build up under the ice.
“Breaking the ice can harm the fish. Carefully place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to melt a hole. Don’t pour.
“For wildlife, leave out seeds and grains, cooked pasta or rice and boiled potatoes, and keep bird baths free of ice.”