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From a scaredy-cat to a hungry hamster – 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 whose cat is petrified of their two-year-old daughter

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Sean helps a reader whose cat is petrified of their two-year-old daughterCredit: Getty
Sean McCormack wants to help keep pets happy and healthy

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Sean McCormack wants to help keep pets happy and healthyCredit: Doug Seeburg – The Sun

Q) FOR the past week, my cat Ned has been hiding under the bed.

He seems petrified of our two-year-old daughter, who keeps picking him up by the neck thinking he is Simba from the Lion King.

Should I be worried he could sustain an injury by being picked up by the neck?

I don’t know if he is under there because he has been hurt or he’s scared of our daughter.

Ned is three and usually quite sociable.

Paula Elphick, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

A) I don’t think I need a vet degree to say this, but yes of course he could sustain a neck injury.

This is a really important time – it’s crucial to teach kiddo that they have to be gentle and kind to Ned, and other animals.

If you are concerned he’s in pain or moving strangely then I would recommend a vet visit.

It’s also important to say that Ned may lash out and hurt your daughter next time, which wouldn’t be his fault.

Q) MY insurance costs a fortune.

My provider Pet Emporium said I can go down from gold to silver membership, meaning I’d only be covered for a certain amount in any given month.

What might the maximum fees be for an average dog?

I am scared if I go down a level I might not be covered.

My dog is a lovely Boxer called Humphrey. He’s two and has barely been to a vet.

Toby Wiley, Boston, Lincs

This is crystal ball stuff. I can’t give you a figure.

Some dogs will go all their lives without a big vet bill, while others are accident-prone or get ill.

Boxers are prone to a few health issues as a breed. It may be you get a better level of cover and value for money with another insurer.

Some people choose to have a pet savings account and put in the amount they would have paid an insurer each month.

Lifetime cover is better than per year or per illness cover but will be more expensive.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk

Q) I LOVE running and recently got a Cocker spaniel puppy, Charlie.

He has so much energy and is 16 weeks old.

I would love to take him running with me. How old should he be for that

Anna Cooper, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

A) He’s not quite ready for running yet, as his bones and joints are still very much in development and too much high-impact exercise could cause issues.

When to run with him is not an exact science and causes a lot of debate.

Some say only exercise a puppy for as many minutes as they are in weeks of age.

So for Charlie you might be able to do three or four low-intensity sessions of 16 minutes a day — such as walking and play.

Avoid hitting the pavements and trails hard with him until he is fully grown and his skeletal development is complete.

For Cockers, that is 15 to 18 months, when you can start to build up running gradually.

Q) OUR hamster Scampi ate the pictures of trees and wooded areas we put around his cage to give him a view.

Do I need to worry about how this will affect him?

Bella Thomas, Norwich

A) I assume Scampi is still alive at the time of writing. If so, there is no need to worry.

But best avoid him eating stuff like this in future.

Rodents have an insatiable need to chew and they really like paper or wood.

Ink in coloured paper can be harmful and if they eat too much fibrous material there is the chance of a blockage.

Provide them with wooden blocks and hamster-safe toys to gnaw on.

Star of the week

WIDGET the Labrador loves doing his bit for the environment by picking up litter on walks.

The four-year-old lives with Sarah Wolf in Frome, Somerset, and carries junk in his mouth to the nearest bin.

Widget the Labrador loves doing his bit for the environment by picking up litter on walks

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Widget the Labrador loves doing his bit for the environment by picking up litter on walks

Proud Sarah, 47, a media officer, said: “We realised his litter-picking talent when he jumped in a river and swam out carrying a beer can.

“He’ll make a beeline for plastic bottles, old cans or other pieces of litter he can retrieve.

“Widget is particularly good at fishing them out of rivers and lakes. Then he gets a dog biscuit as a reward. Older people call him a Womble after the TV show.

“We’ve even been told to contact Blue Peter to see if they’d give him a Climate Hero badge.”

WIN: Cotton dog’s drying coat

DOES your dog love a dip? Keep them cosy after a swim or a bath with a snuggly drying coat by Ruff & Tumble.

We have five limited-edition double-layered, cotton towelling drying coats up for grabs, worth £50 each.

Head to ruffandtumble dogcoats.com to find out what size they need then email DRYINGCOAT to sundaypets@the-sun. co.uk

  • T&Cs apply. Entry closes October 31.

November 5 puts hedgehogs at risk

NATURE lovers want us to put off building bonfires until November 5 to protect hedgehogs.

Last year’s second lockdown halted bonfire bashes but the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) fears many will suffer as celebrations resume next month.

Fay Vass of the BHPS says: 'A bonfire pile looks like a 5H hotel to a hedgehog, seeking a safe and cosy winter home to hibernate in'

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Fay Vass of the BHPS says: ‘A bonfire pile looks like a 5H hotel to a hedgehog, seeking a safe and cosy winter home to hibernate in’

Bonfires make inviting nests for hedgehogs – putting them at risk of injury or death when they are lit.

Fay Vass of the BHPS says: “A bonfire pile looks like a 5H hotel to a hedgehog, seeking a safe and cosy winter home to hibernate in.

“They aren’t to know we plan to set light to it.

“We’d ask that bonfires aren’t built until the day they’re going to be lit.

“If material is stored on open ground in advance, dismantle it and move it to another spot just before lighting.

“Make sure the ground is completely clear – never on top of a pile of leaves, as there could be a hedgehog underneath.”

Gently check your bonfire with a torch, not a spade or fork.

If you find a hedgehog, use gardening gloves to pick it up, with some of its “nest”, and put it in a high-sided cardboard box with newspaper or towelling inside until it is safe to release it. See britishhedgehogs.org.uk.

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