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From an energetic hamster to a very jealous cat – 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.

A Syrian hamster peeking out of its cage
Today, Sean helps a very energetic hamster
Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

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: MY hamster Fluffy whizzes himself so fast on his toy wheel that he often flies off ­­– then will get back on again.

He has a four-tier home and he comes out every day to play with our kids. He is nine months old.

He seems content but do I need to give him more ­exercise or more things to do?

Estelle Evans, Sevenoaks, Kent

Sean says: Ideally, yes. Wheels are addictive and fun, but they also remind us how active hamsters are meant to be.

In the wild, hamsters roam long distances each night in search of food, territory and sometimes a mate.

So even the biggest commercially available hamster cages don’t allow that natural roaming.

It’s a good idea to create a hamster-proof pen with solid sides using furniture or objects in the home, or even let Fluffy out in a room for supervised exploration.

Get down on your belly first, though, to make sure that there aren’t any hamster-sized gaps where he could disappear through, never to be seen again.

Q: BOB, my 18-months-old labrador, humps other dogs and even the odd human leg.

Should I get him the snip now as he’s a bit of an embarrassment?

Sarah Roberts, Callington, Cornwall

Sean says: I’d be inclined to wait a little longer with labradors because they are prone to skeletal conditions.

Evidence now shows there is a benefit to allowing dogs to fully mature with their sex hormones — in Bob’s case testosterone — on board.

If you can eke it out to 24 months it may well stand you both in good stead for his future health, while only costing you the odd embarrassing shrug and apology.

For more serious behavioural problems, earlier castration can help.

For anxious dogs it can have a detrimental effect as testosterone does give young dogs confidence.

If you are confused, your vet should be happy to weigh up the pros and cons, as they know you and Bob best.

Q: DO cats get jealous? Mine hates my new boyfriend.

Spotty spits at my boyfriend even though he has done nothing wrong. What can I do to make them friends?

Cara Barnes, York

Sean says: You can’t force friendship on cats. It has to be on their terms.

But I think you need to dump your boyfriend. Spotty must be on to something.

Just joking. Encourage your boyfriend to ignore Spotty, don’t lean over him or try to initiate contact — even eye contact.

Don’t disturb him from where he is resting, and act like he’s not there most of the time.

Then start dropping or throwing treats. Keep it casual and nonchalant, as if they are not even for Spotty.

That way he will create a positive association and maybe even initiate contact himself before long.

Slow and steady wins this race.

Q: I WORRY about overfeeding my Guinea Pigs Pinky and Perky.

They are are 18 months old. I give them 50g each of mix, hay and a small handful of greens. They get some treats too.

They look a bit chunky. Am I feeding them too much?

Emma Holick, Emmer Green, Berks

Sean says: It’s difficult to say without assessing them “in the hand”.

Might help to book in a wellness check with your vet or perhaps one of the vet nurses in your local practice who has a sweet spot for small furries. There’s always at least one!

Vet nurses are the unsung heroes of the veterinary world and one of the areas they excel in is nutrition and weight control.

If you feel Pinky and Perky are a little chunky, reduce the more calorific dry mix of their diet.

And choose a pelleted formula rather than muesli which allows selective feeding on only the sweetest, tastiest and highly calorific bits.

Star of the week

Sun on Sunday Pets Page
Snowdon the corgi is one of talent agency Urban Paws’ most loved clients

SNOWDON the corgi is a pooch with a big fan base.

The pup is one of pet talent agency Urban Paws’ most loved clients and has done campaigns with Zara, Next, Boden and Madame Tussauds.

Along with her mum Jam and sister Honey, she has also filmed for Netflix promoting The Crown.

The trio, who live in Eton, Berks, with owner Sam Cader, 42, are also therapy dogs at Poplars Care Home in Ruislip, North West London.

Sam said: “Whether Snowdon is working with dementia patients or on campaigns, she steals everyone’s hearts.”

WIN: Healthy dog treats

TO celebrate Valentine’s Day, Park Life has launched Love-Bix – delicious heart-shaped treats for dogs.

Containing no added sugar, the tum-friendly treats are made with potato, sweet potatoes, peas and strawberry.

Buy them at Jollyes pet stores, Sainsbury’s and parklife.dog.

For a chance to win one of five Love-Bix packs worth £2.99 plus a £50 voucher to spend on treats at parklife.dog, send an email headed PARK LIFE to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk by February 25, 2024. T&Cs apply.

CAN A CUTE CAT STEAL YOUR HEART?

THIS Valentine’s Day Cats Protection has revealed there are nearly 1,000 unlucky feline victims of the cost-of-living crisis looking for a love match.

The charity is “stretched to its absolute limit” looking after more than 4,000 unwanted cats.

Sun on Sunday Pets Page
Could a cat steal your heart this Valentine’s Day?

One in three owners (34 per cent) have been significantly affected by the rise in living costs.

Just over a fifth were given up because owners can no longer afford the costs or had moved into rented homes where pets are not allowed.

The charity is also waiting for 2,700 cats and kittens to come into their Adoption Centres across the UK – a rise of 33 per cent in a year.

Plus the charity’s many volunteer-run branches are looking after hundreds more.

Peter Shergold, head of field operations, said: “This is one of the worst situations that we’ve seen in terms of the financial pressures on cat owners.

“They are struggling to put food on the table or pay bills.

“Unfortunately it means the poor pet cat is one of the first things to be given up to balance the books.

“We’d be very grateful if any Paws And Claws readers can get in touch to see if we have their perfect match.”

See cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat.

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