Dear Vicki My four-year-old Collie, Pennie, keeps chewing her paws. They don’t look sore or red and I’m not sure why she keeps doing it? A parasite like the harvest mite can affect the skin, especially in the late summer or early autumn. The larva can look like red dots on the skin and it can be very itchy. They are often found between the paws or on any skin that comes into contact with the ground. A different type of mite can cause ‘mange’ and affect a dog’s feet. Contact allergies, where a pet has come into contact with something they are allergic to, such as concrete dust or carpet cleaners, can also cause skin problems. Boredom or a lack of exercise can focus a dog’s attention to one area and cause them to chew or lick. There could also be other possibilities, such as bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Dear Vicki I’ve had my rescue cat for three years but recently, when I go to bed, she meows and howls up the stairs constantly and if I don’t wake up she bangs on the wardrobe doors. Separation anxiety is a condition where an animal becomes attached to their owner and can’t cope when they leave them on their own. It is much more commonly seen in dogs, but can affect cats. Another possibility is that a medical condition is affecting your cat’s behaviour. For example, feline dementia can cause cats to appear confused or disorientated, to vocalise more, to go to the toilet in the house and to seem anxious at night. Similarly, an overactive thyroid gland can cause a cat to seem hyperactive and potentially more irritable or aggressive than usual.