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) Why does my dog Bruno howl at the EastEnders theme tune?
I’m not sure if he’s angry or likes it, but he gives it “welly”.
What’s he trying to tell me? I’m confused.
Anita Black, Maidstone, Ken
Sean says: He’s trying to tell you that it was Dirty Den all along! Or perhaps lamenting the recent loss of the late, great June Brown aka Dot Cotton?
He sounds either really into it, or he’s wailing, “Oh sheesh, not this drama fest again.”
I’m sure he’s also entertaining you all and gets attention when he does it, in which case it’s rewarding for him to continue.
Good boy, Bruno.
Q) MY ginger tomcat Marmalade is terrorizing the neighbours’ Labrador dog.
He sits on the fence between our gardens taunting him and spitting.
But I’m worried if he loses his balance he will be toast.
How can I stop him?
John Dudley, Plymouth
Sean says: Marmalade can’t be stopped. He runs that street.
No, but seriously, it is a risky strategy.
You could put up netting or anti-cat devices on top of the fence to discourage him from walking on it.
As you say, one fall into the next garden could spell disaster, although in my experience cats like Marmalade might be a risky prospect to tackle even for Labradors, who are notoriously all bark and no bite.
Q) I HAVE a lovely 14-year-old black and white cat, Banjo, who I got from a rehoming center in Sussex seven years ago.
He loves his home and garden but for the last year he won’t come home except for his food. He then shoots out and I hardly see him.
The trouble is, he sleeps out even in wet and cold weather. He’s been frozen and sometimes wet through.
I have now built him a small wigwam that he does sleep in, but it’s very drafty and cold.
I just don’t know what to do to entice him to stay indoors. Do you have any suggestions?
Roger Lee, Peacehaven, East Sussex
Sean says: Has something changed indoors or have any new human or animal family members arrived?
Do you have other cats he may not get along very well with?
It’s hard just to throw guesses out about what triggered this change in behavior.
But it would be a good idea, especially at his age, to build or buy him something substantial, warm, sheltered and comfortable outdoors.
Then at least he could get out of the elements properly to sleep if he wants to be an outdoor-only cat.
Does he have a cat flap to come and go as he pleases? That might be helpful if currently you have to be there to physically let him in.
And maybe he’s on a totally different timetable to you.
Q) MY corn snake Colin has a problem shedding, particularly around his eyes.
I’ve got logs in his tank for him to brush against. What do you recommend?
Brian Atkins, Poole, Dorset
Sean says: He needs more humidity, even an area in his enclosure which maintains a high humidity. We call it a wet hide.
So provide a large storage tub or plastic box with an entrance hole cut in the lid.
Inside, put damp sphagnum moss and hide it under something in the warm end of the vivarium.
That way he can go in there when it’s time to shed and next time his skin will be well hydrated and hopefully come off in one piece, including those eye caps.
If it doesn’t happen, take Colin to a reptile-savvy vet, who will help remove them safely.
star of the week
JESSE the parrot went mute and plucked out his feathers in grievance after the death of his owner.
But now that he has a new home – with Rachel Leather, 42, and partner Carl Donoghue, 43, of Aberdare, Glamorgan – he loves singing songs, cracking jokes and playing pranks.
Rachel says: “I got Carl to oil all the doors in the house, as there was a creaking sound driving me insane.
“We realized it was Jesse playing a prank. When I tell Jesse, ‘You’re funny’, he replies, ‘Yeah, f***ing hilarious’.”
Rachel, who runs pet trauma recovery firm Animal Behavior Consultations, adds: “He was shut down and stressed.
“Then we realized all this language was there inside him.”
WIN: Vax Duo
ALMOST nine in ten of us spend time every week clearing up spills and stains, according to floorcare specialist Vax.
A third of us, meanwhile, admit to hiding a carpet stain with a piece of furniture or a craftily placed rug.
Now Vax is offering one Paws & Claws reader a Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 pet and car cordless vacuum, worth £299.99 AND a new Vax SpotWash Home Duo spot cleaner worth £149.99.
To enter, send an email titled VAX to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 8. See vax.co.uk. T&Cs apply.
Make first aid know-how a priority
PAWS and Claws readers are being urged to learn basic canine first aid – and to check if their dog walker, pet-sitter or groomer has the skills to save their precious pal’s life.
The Safe Pets and People campaign, led by national qualification 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 their dog walker, groomer or pet-sitter actually might not know what to do.
“And more widely, the more people that know these skills, the better.”
Pet company Yappy.com supports the campaign and its 33 employees – 17 of whom take dogs to work – have already learned canine life-saving skills.
Spokeswoman Alison Parsons said: “As a pet-centric business, their welfare is a priority in our office environment.”
Rachel said that in a pet emergency, the first step is to keep calm.
She added: “Clear the throat of obstructions and if your dog is unconscious, pull the tongue out and to the side.
“Stop any bleeding – use hand pressure if you have to before applying bandages.”