From an owner worried about dodgy cat food to a dog that won't eat — your pet queries answered

From an owner worried about dodgy cat food to a dog that won't eat — 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 got a cat and I am now scared to feed her after the deaths that might have been from the recalled dried food.

How do I know what I am giving my cat is safe and all of the dodgy food has been recalled?

Sarah Fawcett, Burnley

A) There has been a spate of cases in the UK of a rare disease called feline pancytopenia. No unsafe cat food has been identified.

But some manufacturers and brand owners are taking the precautionary action of recalling and withdrawing several hypoallergenic cat food products because of safety concerns.

These include some products under Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe range, Pets At Home’s Ava range and some Applaws products, which are sold by Amazon and pet food shops.

If you haven’t heard about this or are unsure if your pet food is one of the ones being recalled, it’s vital to check what products and batches are affected on the Food Standards Agency website at

The UK has robust pet food safety regulations and safeguards.

Q) WHENEVER we take our Jack Russell, Paddy, to a new place, he refuses to eat his food. He eats it happily at home.

We went on holiday to Wales for a week and all he would eat was leftovers from our meals.

He even refused his favourite cocktail sausages.

But when we were home he ran straight to his bowl and was tapping it, asking for his food, then wolfed it down. We have another holiday planned.

How do we get him to eat?

Mathew Palmer, Darlington, Co Durham

A) It sounds counter-intuitive but just ignore him.

If he’s already anxious about the new surroundings, then fussing over him and almost forcing him to eat with lots of offerings and coaxing might make him feel even more anxious.

Your behaviour changing around feeding in a new environment may also put him off.

There’s no need to give him special food treats or meals while you are away. Just continue as normal. And act as you otherwise would when it comes to feeding time.

If he doesn’t eat a meal, don’t make a fuss. Just take it up after 15 minutes and try again that evening.

You could also try placing a calming pheromone collar on him a couple of days before you go away.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to

Q) CHASE, my chihuahua pug cross, is five years old and loves munching on stones.

He has lost two teeth doing it. I thought he would grow out of this awful habit but he’s still at it.

I have to put a leash on him in the garden.

I have three other dogs and he sees them all running around. It’s so unfair.

Sadie Moss, London

A) How about some aversion therapy? Not punishing Chase, but retraining him to think it’s an unrewarding habit.

Basically, you want to leave him out supervised with access to a few stones he’s likely to munch on.

But before you have let him out to explore, you lace the stones with something foul-tasting.

Some use tabasco sauce or a pet-safe bitter spray you can buy.

It’s important he discovers the stones for himself and doesn’t know you’ve done this.

You can even go ahead and plant laced stones ahead of him out and about on walks.

The theory is that the more he finds stones distasteful over several weeks, the less he’ll be inclined to chew them in future and the habit will disappear.

Star of the week

IVY the rescue hen was bullied by the other chickens at her farm.

They pecked at her so much she lost many of her feathers

But she is enjoying life since being taken home by Joe Collings, via Fresh Start For Hens.

Her feathers have grown back and she has learnt how to jump through hoops, push a ball and play peek-a-boo.

Joe, 42, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, said: “She would hide at the back of the coop facing the wall, so I decided to bring her in to live in the house

“Ivy felt safe in her crate and started to come out of herself.

“Now she’s back outside with the other hens and she’s confident and happy.”

Win: Pub training

TRAIN your dog to be on its best behaviour when visiting pubs, cafes and restaurants – thanks to the Pub Dog Training programme.

The online course has 20 short modules, including how to settle your pet in new places.


We have FIVE courses, worth £50 each, to give away.

To enter, email with PUBDOG in the title.

  • T&Cs apply. Entries close on August 30.

Lining up for the canine Paralympics

DOGS of all shapes, sizes and abilities are being invited to take part in the first pet paralympics.

The agility competition is for animals who are elderly, disabled or have a health condition.

The Petsure Games has been created by Petsure insurance to celebrate our canine heroes.

One determined pup taking part is Slinky the cockapoo, who has a hernia and will be entering the sniff and fetch contest.

Another is Tazzie, a three-legged Boxer whose event is the weaving poles.

Tazzie was adopted from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2012 by Di Betts, a volunteer at the centre.

Di, 61, from Battersea, South London, said: “It’s brilliant that the games are for dogs of all abilities.

“Tazzie had a difficult start in life, but is a sweet boy. Even though he’s lost a leg, I know he will enjoy taking part. He is a true champion.”

The accessible course will feature tunnels and other enrichment activities.

Petsure CEO Ryan Howsam said: “The games offer an exciting opportunity to celebrate all dogs.”

  • The event is at the Bath and West Country Festival at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, on August 27-29. See

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