Dear Vicki, My black Labrador Sally has been pulling the fur out on her sides. She’s reg­u­larly treated for fleas so it can’t be that, why is she do­ing this?

There could be many rea­sons for this so I would ad­vise book­ing an ap­point­ment with your lo­cal vet. They can in­ves­ti­gate other po­ten­tial causes. It is still pos­si­ble that fleas are caus­ing this. If you use an over-the-counter prod­uct, it may not be ef­fec­tive. Dear Vicki, Our guinea pigs are kept in a hutch out­side in a shel­tered corner, but with the weather be­com­ing so cold, I’m wor­ried - do I need to bring them in?

It’s best to house guinea pigs in­doors dur­ing the cold­est win­ter months. A shed or a garage is ideal, but it must be one that isn’t used by cars as ex­haust fumes can be dan­ger­ous. You should also pro­vide ex­tra bed­ding hay to help them keep warm and cover the hutch and run with thick blan­kets. It is also im­por­tant to check wa­ter bot­tles ev­ery day to make sure they aren’t frozen. If you don’t have a shed or garage, then bring their hutch into the house when the weather gets re­ally cold, but keep it away from ra­di­a­tors, other pets, loud noises and smoky at­mos­pheres. Nat­u­ral light should be avail­able and con­stant ac­cess to a se­cure run and toys so they can ex­er­cise. Dear Vicki, My cat, Shan, keeps bring­ing dead birds and mice she’s caught into the house and leav­ing them at the front door, and it’s not very nice! How can I get her to stop?

Hunt­ing is nor­mal be­hav­iour for cats, even well-fed ones. You could play games that let her carry out her stalk­ing, chas­ing and pounc­ing. There is no guar­an­tee of suc­cess and it may be bet­ter to ac­cept that this is nor­mal cat be­hav­iour.

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