Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

From a sleepless spaniel to an itchy shih tzu – 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 , 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.”

Sean helps an owner whose dog does not like to stay sleeping for long


Sean helps an owner whose dog does not like to stay sleeping for longCredit: Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'


Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’Credit: Supplied

Q) CHARLIE, our 13-year-old cocker spaniel, wakes us up every night.

We let him out before we go to bed, but he can get up between two and six times after that.

The reasons can be anything from doing his business to having a drink or just standing at the door or patio.

Sometimes he just wants to be put on our bed.

He doesn’t seem to want to go on his favourite bed. Sometimes it is like he is in a trance.

We are getting very tired as each time it takes a while for us to get back to sleep. Please can you offer any advice?


Sean says: Oh Charlie boy, this sounds to me like he’s experiencing some senior moments.

Specifically, it may be a condition called canine cognitive dysfunction or CCD.

It is the equivalent of “going senile” in elderly humans.

I had a smelly backyard from my dogs peeing on the grass – my farm store buy freshened it up, it’s safe for pets too

Common signs include agitation, absent episodes, confusion, seemingly wanting to go somewhere but not knowing where, getting stuck in corners and excessive vocalisation at night.

The good news is there are a couple of medications that can be really helpful at reducing these symptoms, which can sometimes be distressing both to dog and owner.

I’d highly recommend getting your vet to do a physical exam to rule out other problems, but I anticipate they may want to trial him on one of these medications.

Q) I’M going to get a pet rat for my nine-year-old son James. Should I get two to make sure they are not lonely?


Sean says: Yes, please do! Rats are social species and like the company of their own kind as well as that of humans.

When you are not around it’s good for them to have company.

The best thing to do is get an already bonded pair, or litter mates from the same family.

But choose two of the same sex. We don’t want any sibling matings or unwanted litters.

Rats make great pets, and James will have lots of fun taming and training them  to do some basic tricks. Have a look on YouTube.

The sky’s the limit on what you can teach these intelligent rodents.

Q) MY seven-year-old shih tzu Penny suffers from dermatitis.  I’ve been using Peptivet shampoo and Apoquel, but after two days she is smelly again.

In the morning her skin is a pinky colour but it gets red by evening. She eats dry food. Any advice please?


A) This is a giant worm-hole that I may not be able to solve here.

With skin conditions,  we are dealing with a very long list of possible underlying causes.

Getting to the bottom of the cause can be a slow process. It could be an environmental allergy, a food allergy or a yeast overgrowth.

I would really need to examine her and work with you over time to figure out what’s up.

So I recommend you speak with your vet about the best way forward.

Q) MY cat Archie, 15, is being bullied by a young cat that comes through our cat flap or kitchen window to steal his food.

He’s living in terror. Is there anything I can do so he has a more peaceful life?

KATE ALMOND, Cambridge

Sean says: One  solution is to  change your cat flap to a smart one which only allows your cat in.

That way at least he can have some refuge inside.

I can’t help with the open window problem, other than to recommend installing a mesh screen on the outside so you can still open it but not have the other cat come through.

Star of the week

Our pet of the week is Simba the cat, who has helped his owner get past a break-up


Our pet of the week is Simba the cat, who has helped his owner get past a break-upCredit: Supplied

SIMBA the cat burglar likes to pinch things, but he’s filled his owner’s home with love.

The six-month-old kitty belongs to Samantha Bryan, 25, who has just moved into her first flat, in Cleethorpes, Lincs.

She said: “I found my flat was empty living on my own for the first time so Simba has become my furry flatmate.

“I recently broke up with my boyfriend so he has helped heal my heart. He’s very affectionate.

“But he likes to pinch things, including my sofa throws, socks that he finds and any bits of food he can claim as his own. I call him a one-cat crime wave.”

WIN: £250 TOG24 voucher

IT’S April showers time, which means dog walks in puddles and mud.

To keep you and your four-legged friend dry, we’ve teamed up with TOG24 – which sells waterproof dog coats, fleeces and jumpers, with matching human versions, too – to offer one reader a £250 voucher to spend online.

For a chance to win, send an email headed TOG24 to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk by April 28. See tog24.com.

T&Cs apply.

Dread walkies? Give them a miss

DITCHING daily walks for a duvet day could solve dogs’ behaviour problems, a leading dog trainer claims.

Niki French, 55, from Twickenham, South West London, has worked with hundreds of owners who dreaded walkies because they didn’t know how their dog might react.

Not all dogs are societally equipped to be out walking every single day


Not all dogs are societally equipped to be out walking every single dayCredit: Supplied

According to a recent study by the Royal Veterinary College, 67 per cent of pandemic puppy owners said their dog pulled on the lead, while 57 per cent said their dog jumped up at people.

Niki says: “For dogs like these, skipping walks is the best idea as they’re not being exposed to the situations they simply don’t have the skills to cope with.”

As well as reducing walks with her own rescue dog Bodie, a collie cross, Niki has surveyed 200 owners who have tried reducing walks.

Seventy per cent of those surveyed said it made life less stressful for them and their dog.

Niki, who has written a book called Stop Walking Your Dog, says: “Alternatives to the daily walk include sniffing games at home, digging in the garden, agility and trick training – and mental activities help them grow in confidence.”

  • For more about Niki’s work, see puptalk.co.uk.
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