From doggy allergies to pups howling at the phone — 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, 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 HAVE two Shih Tzu dogs. Whenever my friend rings me on the landline the male one howls until I answer the phone.

She doesn’t always ring at the same time but Oliver still howls, even if he’s not in the same room.

Why is this?

Lisa Nicholls, Yeovil, Somerset

A) He’s making some connection, most likely from your behaviour.

If you’re expecting it to be your friend and you’ve noticed this pattern, perhaps he’s reading into you smirking as you go for the phone and howling because he knows it generates attention during the call.

Dogs are very perceptive.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) MY dog Honey is a five-year-old Patterdale Terrier but she has an itching allergy and her medication is not working.

Our vet says to give her half a tablet of Piriton in the morning and last thing at night. She also has an Apoquel tablet in her food. This all started after she was stung by a bee. She is on food.

Charles Inglis, Edinburgh

A) Piriton works in some dogs but not in others. It sounds like it’s not helping here. Has your vet found out what exactly she is allergic to?

It may be worth changing her on to a hypoallergenic diet with skin support, so contact the customer team at who will help with dietary support.

And consider having a blood test with your vet for environmental allergies so you know how best to control exposure.

Her dose of Apoquel also might need changing, so your vet is your best bet to get this under control.

Q) DO rescue dogs remember the life they had before?

I’ve adopted a mixed-breed dog from Romania, Sammy, and I know he had a horrible time on the streets and suffered cruelty as a stray.

We give him so much love and want him to know he’s safe and will always be cherished, but do dogs remember the horrid times?

Lydia James, Hartlepool.

A) I’m pretty sure they do, as they carry what they’ve learned with them. If they were mistreated by men, for example, they may be fearful of men.

But far too often we misunderstand fearful or anxious behaviour. A dog that is fearful of men was probably not abused by men, maybe they just didn’t experience many men.

Lack of socialisation causes fear. If they are scared of a broom, it’s likely they’ve not encountered a broom, not that they were beaten by one.

The good news is that they don’t dwell on the past, just learn from it and live in the moment.

Q) WE have a 15-year-old rescue dog, Pepi. We have had him for more than a decade but he will only eat if both my husband and I are home.

It gets tricky when my husband or I are at work and he should be eating.

We have asked the vet but they have never heard of any dog doing this before. Can you help?

Amanda Thorley, Spreyton, West Devon

A) Is this a long-term trend or has it only started happening recently? Is Pepi a good weight? If he isn’t underweight then I’m not too concerned. He will eat if he’s hungry enough.

Often it’s a case of not making a fuss or paying him any attention, and not worrying if he skips a meal here or there. He’ll eat eventually.

But if he’s showing any signs of being unwell, or losing weight, get him checked again by your vet.

Star of the week

CLEVER Rico helped bring home a missing dog with his “pet-trailing” prowess.

The six-year-old Kokoni cross was saved from the streets of Portugal and now lives with dog behaviourist Rachel Rodgers, 31, of Nantwich, Cheshire.

Rico has had pet- trailing sessions since 2019 and when a local dog went missing, at the National Trust stately home Erddig, Rachel put his skills to use.

He soon sniffed out the lost dog, which was unchipped.

Rachel says: “It was amazing, everything Rico learned helped find the missing dog. I’m so proud of him.”

WIN: Pee-proof your lawn

OWNING a pet has its downside: Dealing with poo and pee!

If you have green fingers and are tired of your lawn being a soggy, doggy mess, try Dog Rocks (podiumpet

The all-natural supplement lowers the acidity of dog wee to stop it spoiling grass.

We have seven 600g bags of Dog Rocks to give away, worth £39 each. For a chance to win, email [email protected] with DOG ROCKS as the email’s subject.

T&Cs apply. Entries close May 2.

We're now a nation of home birds

FORGET pandemic pups and the kitty boom – Brits are going quackers for pet birds too.

Figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association reveal indoor birds are the nation’s third-favourite pet after dogs and cats, with 1.3million of us living now living with them.

Pet store Jollyes has seen sales of budgies go up by 50 per cent, finches and parakeets by 40 per cent, and parrots by a third.

Chris Burns, commercial director at Jollyes, said: “Interest in keeping birds as pets has risen during lockdown and it’s become a nationwide phenomenon.”

Chickens are also getting more popular, with celebs such as Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder giving ex-battery hens a second chance.

Last year the charity Fresh Start for Hens rehomed 67,025 hens, 221 cockerels, 2,363 ducks and 146 drakes. Even crows and pigeons are being kept as pets, too.

Animal behaviourist Helen Motteram, 37, from Cheltenham, has Russell the crow and London the pigeon as companions.

She said: “Russell is so cheeky and intelligent and London is a joy – he is harness-trained and loves cuddling up and sleeping.

“Crows need attention but pigeons are very relaxed and make lovely, low maintenance pets.”

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