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From a tortoise escaping to rabbits that bully – 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.

Sean helps a reader with a tortoise that keeps escaping[/caption]
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) BERTY, my tortoise, keeps escaping into the neighbouring ­gardens.

I’ve even put my house number on his shell.

He seems able to climb the most unlikely of obstacles.

I want him to have a good life but don’t want to lose him.

What do you recommend?

Ann Brown, Falmouth, Cornwall

A) Tortoise-proofing! Simple as that.

You need to review your ­garden barriers, remove any items he can clamber up to get over walls or fences, and preferably bury a mesh skirt around the base of fences or walls too, to stop him digging out.

Get down to his level and think like a tortoise.

Your neighbours might think you’re bonkers but better that than having all their petunias eaten by a shelled bandit.

Also, please don’t paint his shell, it’s really important for the absorption of sunlight and production of all-important vitamin D.

Q)OUR six-year-old cat Heathcliff keeps attacking the sofa with his claws.

He has scratching posts but ignores them.

I’ve tried putting essential oils on the sofa to distract him but that hasn’t worked.

Any ideas to stop him shredding my furniture?

Emily Mullins, Doncaster

A) The two things I was going to suggest, you seem to have already tried — providing scratching posts around the house and using ­citrus spray or another cat-repelling and fabric-friendly product from the pet shop or your vets.

If neither of those efforts have worked, what about making him attracted to the right area?

You could try lacing his scratching posts with catnip.

You could also try hanging aluminium foil or plastic sheets off the sides of the sofa for a bit.

I know it sounds bonkers but cats hate these materials and it may encourage the switch.

Q) I HAVE three male rabbits, Smoky, Charlie and Edgar. ­

Charlie is bullied relentlessly by the other two.

One has a go and then the other will do it.

They share one big hutch designed for multiple rabbits with their own sleep area and they have a communal run.

Should I separate them completely?

Joe Cole, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

A) It depends on the severity and whether this is rambunctious play, pecking order stuff or ­genuinely aggressive attacks.

Obviously, I can’t tell without observing, and from my experience people interpret rabbit behaviour in wildly different ways.

So the best thing to do is to film the behaviour on your phone then seek advice from your vet, or perhaps a centre that rehomes rabbits.

If it is genuine aggression then ­perhaps the best thing for Charlie is to find a new home with a new ­rabbit friend.

Good rehoming centres will bond him to a suitable companion.

Q) DO we need to exercise our hamster Hammy more?

He has a wheel and we provide lots of enrichment and his home has four floors and tunnels, but he likes to get out.

He always goes back in when he’s hungry or thirsty.

I’m worried he is not getting enough stimulation.

Cath Bryant, Colchester, Essex

A) This raises a good point about hamsters.

They need to roam — far more than most cages allow.

So I recommend allowing them out in a hamster-proof room or penned-off area for a couple of hours every day with lots of enrichment to explore.

Always supervised of course.

They can squeeze into the tiniest of gaps, and the last thing you want is for Hammy to escape into your walls or your neighbour’s walls, never to be seen again.

Star of the week

BRAVE Betsy the whippet crossbreed has finally started to love again after being beaten.

Betsy, now 18 months old, was rescued by the RSPCA a year ago and has transformed.

Betsy the whippet crossbreed has finally started to love again after being beaten[/caption]

She is living at the Great Ayton Animal Centre in North Yorks but is searching for a new home.

Lauren Hythe from the RSPCA told Paws And Claws: “Betsy’s had a sad start to life. She was scared of everything at first and struggled to even walk into a room she was unfamiliar with.

“She’s since come a very long way.”

See rspca.org.uk/local/great-ayton-animal-centre/findapet.

Win: £180 cordless vacuums

WE’VE teamed up with Swan to offer two lucky readers a Swan Elevate cordless vacuum cleaner, each worth £179.99, to tackle pet mess.

The battery-operated ultra lightweight design has a range of accessories, moves from hard floors to carpets, has a 60-minute run time and washable filter.

To enter, send an email headed SWAN to sundaypets @the-sun.co. uk by May 19.

See shop. swan-brand. co.uk.

T&Cs apply.

Oodles of love from poodles

A NEW study has found poodles are the dogs fondest of having a human gaze into their eyes.

According to the research, 46 per cent of the breed loved owners showing affection by playing one to one with them.

A new study has found poodles are the dogs fondest of having a human gaze into their eyes[/caption]

And corgis (38 per cent) are the four-legged friends that most like being given a nickname, the survey for rover.com found.

Owners of the smallest breeds are most likely to spoon their pet in bed, the poll also revealed.

Three out of four owners of little dogs, including pugs, admitted to snuggling up to their pooch.

The research also found just over one in ten of dog owners kiss their pet on the lips.

Four out of ten owners tell their dog they love them more often than their partner.

The most common “love language” for communicating with dogs is a belly rub, with eight of ten saying they do it regularly.

The most affectionate breeds were pugs, followed by boxers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, shih tzus and huskies.

Adem Fehmi, rover.com’s canine behaviourist said: “Just like in our human relationships, taking the time to understand our dog’s love language is vital to building a healthy, positive relationship.”


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