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PDSA Weekly Q&As - 27 February 2024

Tom Stone
Authored by Tom Stone
Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 09:06

Dear PDSA Vet, my eight-year-old Shih Tzu Sally seems underweight, is there any food available specifically for older dogs that will help her put on a little weight? Jack 

Hi Jack, I would recommend having Sally checked by your vet, as there could be a medical cause why she is underweight. They can advise you what her correct weight should be and let you know if there has been any change. If they are concerned about her weight, they may want to do some investigations. However, if Sally was previously overweight, and you have successfully increased her activity and reduced her treats, it may be that she appears underweight to you even though she is actually her perfect size now! To maintain a healthy weight, feed Sally a good quality and complete, commercially available food suitable for her life-stage and follow the feed guidance on the packet. Find out more pdsa.org.uk/WeighUp  

Dear PDSA Vet, I planted some bulbs in tubs recently but my dog, Rupert, dug them up and ate them. He gets enough food so it can't be that he's hungry.  How can I get him to stop? Emma 

Hi Emma, many dogs love digging, but unfortunately some bulbs can be poisonous to animals, daffodils in particular are toxic. If your pet eats any part of a plant and you're not sure if it could be toxic, you should call your vet immediately. Keep pots of bulbs out of reach ideally or use chicken wire just under the surface of the soil to stop them being dug up. You'll also need to make sure Rupert is getting enough exercise and the correct stimulation daily for his breed and size, plus playtime to keep his brain active, which might help reduce his digging.

Dear PDSA Vet, we moved our rabbits indoors for the winter and I've noticed that, despite the house always being the same temperature, sometimes they have warm ears and sometimes they have cold ears. Why is this? Sophia 

Hi Sophia, rabbits' ears have a wide surface area, which helps them to regulate their body temperature. If they are too hot then more blood will flow through their ears where the fur is thinner, allowing heat to escape and making your rabbits' ears feel warm. If they are a comfortable temperature, or too cold, the blood flow to their ears will be reduced, making them feel cooler to the touch. As long as your bunnies' bodies still feel warm when you touch and stroke them, and they are eating and pooing ok, with normal activity levels, this is nothing to worry about! Find out more at pdsa.org.uk/rabbits  

Dear PDSA Vet, for the last few years my cat has got large matted sections of fur on her back that I have to cut off with scissors. It always happens around May/June, despite regular brushing and grooming. What could be causing this? Imaani 

Hi Imaani, cat's fur can get matted if they're not grooming themselves properly, or if they're not groomed enough by their owner. Generally long-haired cats need to be brushed daily, whereas short-haired cats need brushing twice a week. If cats stop grooming themselves properly this may indicate that there's an underlying problem, such as back pain, mouth pain, or arthritis, so it's a good idea to chat this through with your vet.  If you've noticed that she's matting up around early summer, it's probably that she's not removing her fur as she sheds and it's building up. As well as booking an appointment with your vet, try grooming her more regularly from springtime onwards. 


For more information visit pdsa.org.uk  

PDSA is the UK's largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People's Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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