Its mission is to help our pets. . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.
Sean, who is the chief veterinarian for custom pet food company tails.com, has been answering owners’ questions for ten years. He says, “If your pet is acting weird or is under bad weather, or if you want to know more about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep animals happy and healthy.
Q) Do you think walking cats on a leash is cruel?
I am thinking of buying a small harness for my cat Heathcliff as he likes to follow me on walks but only goes until he gets home. Is this a bad idea?
Pam Morris, Dorchester
Sean says: It’s not necessarily cruel at all. Many cats like to walk around, and it may be safer for them not to cross roads or roam alone.
It does take a bit of practice though, and you’ll likely get some fun looks.
A word of warning, though: be careful if you bring cats into crowded areas or places where dogs roam freely.
In these scenarios, being leashed can be a risk because your cat’s escape route is impeded.
Q) WHAT are the best toys for a leopard gecko? And is it worth buying him a pen to go out?
I have a one year old female named Chocolate and I want her to be as happy as possible as I know she will live to be 20. But is it wise to change things too much?
Sam Davies, West London
Sean says: Toys are not as important as physical or environmental enrichment for geckos (and other reptiles).
You basically want to mimic their environment in the wild, with lots of branches and rocks to climb on and caves to hide in; some dry and hot, some humid, some at the cooler end of the reservoir.
Moist skin is very important. It can be a Tupperware container with sphagnum moss or wet sand inside and a hole to get in and out of.
Place it in the hot end of the tank with some bark or something covering it to make it dark and cozy.
This will prevent your gecko from having molting problems. Putting them outside is a recipe for disaster – escape or predation being two big risks.
A low spectrum ultraviolet bulb is a good idea – say two percent UVB – to mimic the amount of sun exposure they would get in the wild at dawn and dusk as they emerge.
Also change its decor regularly for more enrichment and exploration.
Q) WHY does my bulldog Max break the wind so much?
He is on a gastrointestinal diet. But this is more than a joke.
Emma Smith, Devon
Sean says: Bulldogs are right up there in the “most flatulent breed of dog” stakes, I’m afraid.
One serious reason is that these extremely flat or brachycephalic breeds swallow more air when eating.
They can also have diaphragmatic hernias related to their altered anatomy, which can lead to changes in the way they digest their food and a buildup of gas in the intestines.
They also have a more sensitive digestion and a higher rate of allergies than other dogs.
Overall, Bulldogs are not a healthy breed. We could and should do better in the way we raise them.
A hypoallergenic diet with digestive support such as added prebiotics or probiotics might be worth trying next to see if you can reduce the spongy wind. But you may never be able to fully get rid of Max’s frequent breakouts.
Q) MY daughter Emily, 16, loves giving milk to Marmalade, our five year old rescue cat.
He drinks it, but is it good for him and should I make him stop?
Jane Davies, Leeds
Sean says: Cats love milk. But it’s actually not great for them.
Not only is it difficult to digest, as most cats are lactose intolerant, but it is also high in calories.
A saucer of milk for an average moggy like Marmelade might be the equivalent of us drinking a few pints of beer.
Add that daily and you’ll see a bit of spread in the size department.
So hold back the milk and have Emily play active games with him instead to show him some love. Fishing rod toys are a great start.
star of the week
Poppy, 15, is the face of the Cats Protection charity’s Mature Moggies initiative, which aims to find homes for unwanted older felines.
She lives in Eastbourne with owner Donna Appleby, who fell in love with her after her dog Diesel, 13, died last June.
Widow Donna, 49, said: ‘I felt for Poppy straight away. I was concerned that due to her age she would be ignored by people tempted by young cats.
“I was struck by her kindness. She made my house a home again.
Daniel Cummings of Cats Protection said: “Cats can help prevent feelings of loneliness in all sorts of ways.”
WIN: training app
SEND snapshots of your pet’s funniest / cheekiest moment or best trick and they could be featured as our star of the week.
You could even win one of three annual dog training subscriptions, each worth £119, from animal training app Woofz.
For a chance to win a subscription, send an email titled Woofz to [email protected] by July 31.
Send animal photos and videos to instagram.com/woofz_app/ tagging @woofz_app and also @thesun. The T&Cs apply.
Whitstable a pet shelter
WHITSTABLE in Kent is the most pet-friendly holiday destination in the UK.
And vacationers are becoming more and more adventurous, bringing their dogs, cats, horses and even BEARDED DRAGONS on stay.
Camping expert Pitchup has compiled the top ten based on campsites, beaches, pubs and restaurants, vets, walks, tourist attractions and pet-friendly pet stores.
Whitstable had 11 pet-friendly campsites, 39 hotels, two beaches, 11 pubs, seven vets and seven pet stores.
Second was Torquay, Devon, because of its puppy-friendly beaches, pubs, shops and cafes.
Third was Bognor Regis, with high marks for its walks and beaches.
Three Cornwall hotspots – Padstow, St Ives and Falmouth – feature in the top 10.
Pitchup founder Dan Yates said: “More and more people are looking for the perfect stay in the UK.”
Aimee Witherington of pet-friendly travel site petspyjamas.com said: “We have seen an increase in people wanting to take their dog on holiday with them. We have also booked properties for cats and even a bearded dragon.
“We have real estate partners who also have stables.”
The top 10 pet-friendly destinations: Whitstable, Kent; Torquay, Devon; Bognor Regis, W Sussex; Eastbourne, E Sussex; Weymouth Dorset; Falmouth, Cornwall; Padstow, Cornwall; Bakewell, Peak District; Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear; St Ives, Cornwall.