Q) I HAVE a budgie whose feathers are falling off. He is two years old and called Bertie. He looks a right state.
There are no feathers on his wings any more. He is happy enough and tweets, eats and comes out of his cage to play.
We can’t afford to take him to the vet. Should we be worried?
Samantha Taylor, Darlington
Sean says: It’s not normal so I would be worried about why it’s happening. Unfortunately there are many possible reasons. Diet can be a factor, especially if you only feed a budgie millet seed mix and nothing else.
Fresh food is also important for budgies.
Lettuce, cucumber, greens, even weeds from the garden like chickweed, groundsel and dandelion are favourites — make sure they haven’t been sprayed though.
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.
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) I WORKED as a scaffolder and love taking my dog Poppy to work with me. But during recent weeks she has started to get scared of heights.
She used to love running around with me. I have tried coaxing her back up with me but she won’t do it. She is a terrier and is five. Now she sits in the van all day, which is a bit sad for her. Can you give me advice?
Paul Scott, Newcastle
Sean says: Did something happen to frighten her recently? I have to be honest and say I’m not sure that being up on scaffolding is the safest place for a little dog that might get in the way underfoot. It’s probably not too safe for your workmates either.
Dogs are not the best judges of height. Is there an area in the canteen or office where she could chill out while you’re working? The van isn’t a great option as it can easily overheat with a little bit of sunshine, even on what we would consider a fairly cool day.
Star of the week
MEET brave Pomeranian Bonna, who has bounced back to life after a horrific attack by another dog that left her with a crooked spine.
She was six when she was picked up by the skin on her back and swung around. It left her barely able to walk due to scar tissue around her spine.
Then owner Hara Kyriakou, a dog walker from Nottingham, heard about McTimoney therapy, a form of chiropractic treatment, and Bonna was treated by Emma Punt, of the McTimoney Animal Association.
Hara said: “It’s lovely to see her running happily around and back to the happy-go-lucky dog she used to be.”
Q) CAN goldfish mate? I have one that is three and she is getting fatter and fatter since lockdown.
We bought another goldfish just before isolation and we are worried the pair have got it on! Is that possible? And if so, what on earth do we do?
Vicky Price, Croydon
Sean says: Oh Vicky, is it time we had the birds and the bees chat? Where do you think baby goldfish come from? There is nothing you can do now — so just wait and see what happens. But provide some pondweed or plants for her to lay her eggs on.
And if you do notice eggs, remove the plants they are attached to to another tank as the adults may eat them. There are other problems that can cause fish to bloat besides pregnancy, though. Most arise from overfeeding and poor water quality, so make sure you have a filter and the water quality is perfect. Your local fish shop can test the water for you.
Q) MY Shih Tzu is five and I do everything for her – I walk her, feed her, look after her. But when my grandkids, who are 26 and 24, come round she makes a huge fuss of them with kisses and cuddles.
But she won’t even let me pick her up! What am I doing wrong?
Clifford McLeod, Edinburgh
Sean says: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. She gets to chill with you every day. And, let’s face it, if dog years are to be believed, she’s in her early thirties.
A girl needs to let her hair down with folk her own age from time to time. In reality, she’s just super-excited to see your grandchildren, and they probably interact with her in a different way so she gets distracted. You’re less interesting to her at those times. I wouldn’t take it personally.
GETAWAYS ARE JUST PURR-FECT
STAY-CAT-IONS are the latest trend for family holidays – with cat owners taking their feline friends on holiday with them, Paws and Claws can reveal.
Dog-friendly getaways have grown in popularity over the last few years and now more hotels are creating experiences for kitties. Rose Sellars took her cat Dolly to the Summer Lodge Country House hotel in Evershot, Dorset, this summer.
Rose, 29, a graphic designer from Nottingham, told Paws and Claws: “Dolly loves a change of scenery so we were so pleased when we found a cat-friendly hotel.
“She had her own special bed and could choose from a cat-friendly menu, and we took along her toys. Dolly was made so welcome.”
Cat litter brand Natusan rounded up five cat-friendly locations including The Roast Ox in Painscastle, Powys, The Merry Harriers in Godalming, Surrey, The Jack Russell Inn in Andover, Hants, Tiggers Cottage in Bray, Berks and the Summer Lodge Country House.
A Natusan spokesperson said: “Cats have been the underdog, so it’s good to see this is changing.”
WIN: a Catipilla scratcher
SAY goodbye to claw marks in your home. We have five Catipilla scratchers to give away, worth up to £70.
They let your cat scratch safely and keep claws in pristine condition. See catipilla.com.
For a chance to win, email SCRATCHER to email@example.com and state what size you would like. Options are 50cm, 60cm, 75cm, 130cm or 35cm for kittens. Terms and conditions apply. Closes September 20.
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