From a scaredy-cat to a dog with strange eating habits — your pet queries answered

HE is on a mission to help our pets  . . . and he’s 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”

Q) OUR cat Bailey has developed a fear of his own tail.

He is constantly staring at it as it moves, seems very agitated, then he bites the tip and tries to run away from it, but obviously it follows him.

If we cover his tail up and he can’t see it, he is fine. But as soon as he sees it again, he becomes very fretful.

It never bothered him as a kitten. He has just turned one.

The vet says there is no physical reason why he would be doing this. It is very sad to see him so agitated.

Tracey Swallow, Colchester, Essex

Sean says: I’ve not experienced this before.

But it may be feline hyper- aesthesia syndrome (FHS). It’s also called rolling skin disease because very often it’s combined with rippling motions of the skin at the base of the tail before an episode. Does that fit?

It may be worth bringing up FHS with your vet. We don’t all know about every single rare condition, and I’ve never seen a case in ten years.

If it’s not FHS, there could be another ­neurological reason or perhaps an anxiety-based behavioural issue.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) TILLY, our American cocker, has strange eating habits.

Most mornings she won’t touch her food yet always seems hungry.

We try her on different foods but to no avail.

She would rather go into the garden and eat plants, even digging into plant pots and eating roots.

When she poops she walks around dropping as she goes and it is loose.

John Rowson, Nottingham

Sean says: Maybe she’s just not that into food.

Some dogs aren’t.

I would be worried if she is underweight, but if she’s in good condition it may be that she just doesn’t need to eat so much.

But the fact she has loose stools and is eating plants might suggest an issue with Tilly’s digestive system.

Has she been wormed regularly? Some­thing is up and there are a lot of options so get her checked by your vet, so perhaps take a stool sample with you for testing.

Q) MY nine-year-old English bulldog, Ruby, recently had a lump removed from her leg.

She has now developed a few lumps on her lip which can bleed. Our vet says these are clots.

The problem is our springer spaniel Tater does not stop licking Ruby’s lumps or gently ­licking the top of her head.

Could he sense something is wrong? It is driving me crazy and all we seem to do is tell him off.

Sharon Waters, Ilford, Essex

Sean says: Despite the myth that dogs’ licks are antiseptic, the opposite is true.

It’s wise to continue to tell Tater not to lick Ruby.

The lumps being clots sounds odd to me.

If they are bleeding and getting more trouble­some see your vet again.

Especially with a history of lumps.

Q) SINCE November, my two-year-old border collie, Reilly, has been unsettled at night, wanting to go out two or three times.

He gets about four 30 to 45-minute walks a day and is very healthy. He is not drinking any more that usual.

The only trigger I can think of is he got a fright with fireworks. There are a lot of foxes locally but when he goes out at night he barks at nothing.

Jennifer Allen, Cumbernauld, North Lanarks

Sean says: I’m hearing about this a lot and it can be due to a pet ­feeling unsettled after going through a trauma period, such as hearing fireworks.

But it’s also quite likely to be foxes outside that you can’t see but Reilly will see, smell and hear.

Foxes breed in winter so it’s been a very active time for them. I bet he’s barking to mark his territory.

Star of the week

CUDDLEPOT is a chicken on a mission: Inspiring people to consider feathered friends as rescue pets.

Owner Jessie Sheddon, 34, from Newport, Gwent, has written a book, Fluffybutt Love, about the healing power of chickens.

She says: “Chickens are so much more than big fluffy things that lay eggs. They’re part of the family.

“There’s been a huge rise in people adopting hens in lockdown.

"My chickens have given me so much emotional support.

"Chickens know when you’re low and give unconditional love and cuddles.”

WIN: Dog & owner raincoat set

KEEP dry in the spring showers and support rescue dogs at Battersea with Regatta’s stylish raincoat set for pups and their owners.

The waterproof, breathable dog coat comes in four sizes and colour-matches the navy or yellow jacket for humans, according to your choice.

We have three sets, worth £87 each, to give away.

To enter, visit to check the size you need, then email REGATTA to [email protected]

  • Ts & Cs apply. Entries close April 18.

Take the lead to enjoy safe walkies

ROOKIE dog owners could experience shoulder and knee problems after being exuberant with their pups.

During lockdown the UK dog population has soared by 3.2million to 12million according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association.

And giddy new puppy parents are susceptible to “ball chucker shoulder” and “pulling on the lead knee”.

Dr Peter Angell of Liverpool Hope University ex­plain­ed: “Some dogs always want to pull on the lead no matter how much you train.

“That’s bad because your body is constantly offset while you’re moving, potentially leading to injuries.

“If you can get your dog to stop pulling, I’d recommend it to protect your joints.”

Using ball throwers and being yanked along by dogs can damage our rotator cuff – muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint.

Dr Angell added: “If the shoulder joint is being stretched away from the socket, it could lead to ‘anterior roll’, where you’re slightly hunched forwards, which can cause pain in the shoulder and back.”

Dr Angell, who has a crossbreed Dex, suggests new owners whose pet pulls work with a trainer or find an online guide to help them walk nicely on a lead.

Flexi leads have been linked to hand injuries and burns so instead use a Halti “no-pull” lead or similar.

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