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.
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’[/caption]
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) CHOCOLATE, my one-year-old Labrador, is a “humper”.
He humps other dogs, his bed and his blanket.
He’s an embarrassment in the park at times.
How can I curb his amorous ways?
Sara Cooke, Barnstaple, Devon
A) Oh dear, hormones are on the rise, it seems, and at a typical time for a lab like Chocolate.
He’s becoming a teenager — enough said.
One way to rein in this behaviour is neutering, as it removes much of the hormonal drive to act out sexual urges.
But the timing of neutering is crucial.
Larger breeds, or those that can be prone to skeletal problems, really benefit from completing their teenage and young adult growth spurt with the testosterone in their system.
So in Labradors, I would recommend holding out until he’s at least 18 months of age if possible, or even a little bit longer — unless, of course, there are any behaviours that are problematic and exacerbated by being intact.
Secondly, some of these behaviours can become learned or an important social tool, so castration does not always resolve them fully.
Every dog is different. So I would speak to your vet and a behaviourist to work out what’s best in your circumstances.
On balance, though, if Chocolate is not intended to be a breeding animal, it’s probably less frustrating for him to be neutered, just at the right time.
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to [email protected]
Q)MY cat Bob has arthritis.
He’s 13 and has painkillers, but is there anything else I can do?
Are there any supplements that could make his twilight years a bit better?
Sean Harris, Tewkesbury, Gloucs
A) Poor Bob. Arthritis is indeed painful, even though our pets can be so stoic — especially cats.
The first thing to do is keep him trim, as excess weight can place more pressure on the already painful joints and make things worse.
Secondly, you can add a cat-friendly supplement to his food, designed to support joint health.
Or choose a food where these beneficial ingredients, such as Omega 3 fatty acids, are already included.
Oily fish is a good natural source to give him as an occasional treat, but it’s highly calorific, so watch the amount and that waistline.
Finally, giving him an effective daily dose of your vet-prescribed medication is better than just giving it to him here and there, or when you notice he is stiff.
Cats can be tricky to medicate. So work out with your vet what’s the best option for you and Bob.
Q) WE have six-month-old rabbits Bill and Ben, and I want to stop them getting dental problems as they get older.
I once adopted a dog who was miserable until we spotted he had a rotten tooth.
What can I do to make sure they keep healthy teeth through-out their lives?
Sharon Moore, Bedford
A) Fibre, fibre and more fibre. The vast majority of a rabbit’s diet should be good-quality, food- grade hay and fresh grass.
Traditionally, we have been conditioned to think pet rabbits eat bowlfuls of muesli-type mix, with grains, flakes and biscuity treats.
But this is really far removed from a natural diet.
It doesn’t encourage them to chew and grind fibrous foods as they would in the wild.
Also, it allows selective feeding where they only consume the sweet-est and most calorific bits of the mix, so they then gain weight, get overgrown teeth and even have nutritional deficiencies.
So grass and hay should be 90 per cent of the diet, with fresh vegetables and a tablespoon (or so) of pellets — complete rabbit food — making up the rest.
Also, a tiny amount of fruit as an occasional treat, but no more.
Star of the week
POODLE cross Jack, saved from squalor in a puppy farm, is now living the high life travelling around Europe in a camper van.
The two-year-old pup was rescued in the West Midlands in 2021.
Jack was adopted by retired clinical animal behaviourist Julie Bedford, 62, from Gloucester.
He’s since travelled to France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Hungary, to name but a few countries.
Julie said: “He’s a completely different dog now.”
The RSPCA is highlighting the rescue of Jack to stamp out cruel puppy farms.
WIN: Earth Animal dog treats
WE’VE joined forces with Earth Animal, which has launched new dog treat The Barbeque No Hide chew and is offering five readers a £50 bundle of them.
Made of humanely raised chicken and turkey, with a barbecue flavour, it’s gentle on the tum and an alternative to hide chews.
To enter, send an email headed EARTHANIMAL to [email protected] by Sept 3. See earthanimal.com.
Do homework to avoid big pet bills
MORE than half of puppies and kittens require vet treatment within the first two years of their life – yet a third of owners do not have enough pet insurance to cover costs, new research has revealed.
Fifty-six per cent of felines and pooches required care, with seven per cent needing surgery and two per cent passing away before they turned two.
The research done by snootsvet.com also found 22 per cent of treatments were not covered by pet insurance.
Eighty-seven per cent of owners admitted they are terrified by the prospect of a huge bill every time they visit the vet – with the average annual outlay £573.
Snoots Vets founder Jonathan Moyal, who aims to shake up the pet healthcare industry by having a fixed-rate monthly vet membership of £33 a month, said: “I can’t stress how important it is that a future puppy or kitten owner does their research into the background of the pet, so they know exactly what they are getting.
“Often vets are seeing young pets in their early years and this can mean bills quickly rise.
“Ensure you do due diligence if looking for a furry friend.”