From a clingy rescue dog to a cat spraying – your pet queries answered

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) WE recently adopted a rescue Patterdale Terrier, Tilly, and she doesn’t like being left on her own at night.

At first, she was downstairs in her bed.

But she would cry and jump up at the door. So I’ve been letting her sleep in my bed.

We’ve crate-trained her, and she is happy going in her crate at night.

What would you say is best? She’s very cuddly, so I feel bad not having her in the bed.

Louise Higgins, Heaton, Newcastle

A) It sounds like Tilly has separation anxiety, or is a bit anxious on her own in a new environment

I would do what you’ve done, crate- training and having that as her bed-room within your bedroom.

Then if you want to move her out of the bedroom, do so night by night, moving it more toward the door, then in the hall with the door open.

When she’s settled in that location move it around the corner, down the hall and eventually downstairs.

Keep the bedroom door open so she doesn’t feel abandoned.

Some dogs adapt within a week but others need an inch-by-inch approach and more time to learn to sleep away from you.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) MY cat Oscar sprays all around the house and I don’t know how to stop him.

He is four years old and I have had him from a kitten.

I have tried the plug-ins and sprays but none work.

We got a new dog a year ago and I thought it might be stress but he was doing this long before then.

My other cat Charlie always uses the cat-litter tray so I don’t understand why Oscar doesn’t do the same.

I love Oscar very much but it is driving me mad when I keep seeing yellow stains on walls, doors and furniture. Can you please help?

Caroline Carter, Croydon, South London

A) Is Oscar neutered? If not, that will be the best option.

The next reason for cats to mark indoors is stress, which often we don’t recognise as cats are secretive with hard-to-read subtle behaviours.

Sharing a single litter tray with another male can be intimidating.

In multi-cat households it’s recommended to have one litter tray for each cat plus one extra. I know three litter trays may seem like a hassle, but urine on walls and furniture is even worse.

Another cat outside intimidating him could be a factor.

Even if the original trigger is gone, now he’s been doing it the smell will prompt him to keep going.

So a deep clean and pet deodoriser are needed.

Putting plastic over his favourite spots temporarily will also encourage him to reconsider the new litter trays, as cats hate splashback.

Q) I PUT my Jack Russell Maisy on senior dog food because she has just turned seven.

But she looks a bit skinny. Should I put her back on her old food?

She is very active and, even though she’s now classed as senior, she still loves walks and running around.

Is there anything I need to give her that’s in the senior food that will keep her healthy, as it doesn’t seem to be filling her up?

Sarah Heath, Wilmslow, Cheshire

A) I wouldn’t say a seven- year-old Jack Russell is senior yet.

Some senior foods can be lower- calorie, as they assume older dogs are less active so need less energy.

Jack Russells can live upward of 15-16 years so Maisy is just middle-aged.

I bet she’s a pocket rocket still! Better to have her on a higher-calorie adult food, or better yet try her on tails.com which will be tailored to her individual needs including age, exercise level and body condition.

All dogs are different and sometimes the “one size fits all” approach of off-the-shelf brands doesn’t get it right.

Star of the week

CAMEO the rescue cat is having her second chance at happiness after being made homeless aged 23.

She was handed to Cats Protection when her owner went into a care home. Cameo is the oldest cat the Derby adoption centre has taken in and volunteer Jayne Rodgers, from Stoke, fell in love with her.

Jayne, 52, said: “Cameo is the happiest, most confident cat. She’s a little unsteady on her feet but it doesn’t stop her enjoying life.

“Within a week she was making the house her own, finding all the sunniest spots for her naps.

“It’s lovely to see her enjoying life in her twilight years.”

How to spot silent killer in dog

A VIRTUAL adventure, called The Big Walk, is taking place throughout the month to raise awareness of canine arthritis, the biggest silent killer of dogs.

Organiser Hannah Capon, of Canine Arthritis Management (CAM), says millions of dog owners face saying goodbye to their beloved pets too soon because they don’t know enough about the disease.

Obesity, diabetes, trauma, activity levels and ageing can all contribute to the condition, which is found in 80 per cent of dogs over the age of eight.

The online Big Walk events aim to help new dog owners understand how to spot the signs and take action early.

Vet Hannah says: “Arthritis is the leading cause of dog euthanasia and we’re not picking up on the signs early enough.

"The dog may have been showing signs of problems for a long time and owners just haven’t noticed or been aware that they are witnessing changes in their dog that are related to pain.

“The Big Walk is about educating owners around managing the disease with a few simple adaptations to lifestyle and diet.”

To find out more, visit caninearthritis.co.uk/thebigwalk2021.

Win a grooming kit

GET rid of nasty dog odours while being kind to their skin with Pup Suds, a range of natural, luxury grooming products from pupsuds.co.uk.

Kits include coat oil, towel, travel shampoo, travel toy and nose balm, and we have five, worth £50 each, to give away.

To enter, send an email entitled PUPSUDS to [email protected]

  • T&Cs apply. Entries close Sept 19.

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