Best way to help pets deal with fire­works

Evening Times - - PET CORNER -

Ask the vet

Our 12-year-old Labrador Lola has al­ways hated fire­works. This week though she re­fused to go out at all ex­cept for the toi­let and looked ter­ri­fied un­til she was back in the house. What can we do to make her feel safe in fu­ture? Set­ting up a cosy den in your home can pro­vide a safe space Lola can es­cape to when she be­comes anx­ious or fright­ened. Pheromone dif­fusers are also help­ful to re­lieve stress.

As Lola al­ready has a pho­bia of fire­works, she will need help to cope with this. An ac­cred­ited be­haviourist can put to­gether a per­son­alised de­sen­si­ti­sa­tion pro­gramme, that should help Lola calm her fears in fu­ture. Make sure Lola is mi­crochipped so if she does get away from you, you’ll be quickly re­u­nited.

For more ad­vice, speak to your vet and down­load the PDSA’s fire­works guide: www. pdsa.org.uk/fire­works

Our one-year-old cat has started to uiri­nate around the house, de­spite us­ing the lit­ter tray fine pre­vi­ously. We’ve had flu re­cently, could she have caught an in­fec­tion?

It is highly un­likely she has caught flu from you. It can be tricky but it’s al­ways best to take a urine sam­ple with you to the vet as this will help with any di­ag­no­sis.

Your vet will be able to sell you a kit, in­clud­ing spe­cial­ist lit­ter, to help col­lect a fresh sam­ple.

If your vet feels the cat’s prob­lem is stress re­lated, try us­ing a pheromone dif­fuser as part of treat­ment to help re­lieve her stress.

I have a Cav­a­lier King Charles Spaniel. I heard spaniels can some­times have a prob­lem with

their brains be­ing squashed be­cause they have been bred to have such small heads. How can I tell if Bar­ney is af­fected by this?

The con­di­tion you’re re­fer­ring to is called sy­ringomyeli­a, which is par­tic­u­larly com­mon in Cav­a­lier King Charles Spaniels. It causes a pres­sure point be­tween the brain and spinal cord and a fluid filled area then de­vel­ops, caus­ing fur­ther pres­sure, which is ex­tremely painful. Signs your dog is af­fected can in­clude their head be­ing ti­tled back tilted back and chomp­ing at the air (fly catch­ing), scratch­ing at the neck and shoul­der area, weak­ness of the front limbs or yelp­ing episodes for no rea­son have all been re­ported.

If you’re wor­ried dis­cuss this with your vet.

I have re­cently got a Chin­chilla and am wor­ried about what to do if he gets ill. Do I need to reg­is­ter in ad­vance with a vet, and do I need to go to a spe­cial­ist?

It is sen­si­ble to pre­pare for the pos­si­bil­ity of your pet be­com­ing ill. I would rec­om­mend reg­is­ter­ing with a vet and, even bet­ter, would sug­gest tak­ing your new pet to see your vet for an ini­tial health check. As well as as­sess­ing its health and de­tect­ing any pos­si­ble prob­lems, they can also of­fer ad­vice on im­por­tant as­pects of gen­eral care, such as hous­ing, en­rich­ment and nu­tri­tion.

It is also im­por­tant to bud­get for your pet’s health care and in­sur­ance is one way of achiev­ing this. For more in­for­ma­tion on car­ing for chin­chillas, see: www. pdsa.org.uk/chin­chillas

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