From dogs howling at EastEnders to cats biting and scratching — 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.”

Sean tries to help with a dog who howls at popular TV shows
Sean McCormack answers Sun readers’ questions about their pets

Q) MY Labradoodle Boris howls at the theme tunes for EastEnders and Coronation Street. Yet he doesn’t do it for Emmerdale.

How can I stop him drowning out my favourite programmes and why is he doing it? Emma Hollick, Reading

A) Sean says: Are you sure he doesn’t love them? Howling in dog speak can often mean “This is awesome!” It harks back to their wolf-like ancestors and was a way to communicate with the rest of the pack.

It may be that certain notes in theme tunes tingle Boris’s primeval senses and get him so excited he sings.

Q) I HAVE an 11-year-old blue Staffie called Buster who chases his foot round in a circle while barking.

Sometimes he even tries to bite it. He does this for at least 15 minutes at a time and gets so out of breath his tongue drags on the floor.

When he’s at home all day with my husband he never does it. But as soon as I walk in from work he starts. It also happens if we get visitors or there is any loud noise.

The vets say it’s dermatitis. No medication has worked yet. Liz Lowther, West Yorks

A) Sean says: Because he only does it when you arrive, Liz, I’m pretty sure this is an excitement or attention- seeking behaviour.

It may have started out as dermatitis but if it’s still rewarding to him to do it after the irritation has gone, then why not? Add to that the fact Staffies as a breed are just a bit nuts and neurotic at times, it’s probably him going bonkers for your reaction.

It might be worth completely ignoring it for now, and seeing if it happens less often or for less time per episode. Does he get any exercise during the day when you are gone? If not, no wonder he’s like a coiled spring when you get home.

Why does Basil the rescue cat like to bite his owner?

Q) COULD you help with my rescue cat Basil please?

I have had him for two months and he has settled in well. He is the only cat in the house and can go outside into the back garden as he likes.

He is very loving and often sits on my knee, but now and again he will bite my hand or arm quite hard. It often breaks the skin and bleeds a little.

Then this happens I just try to extract my hand. I don’t chastise him. Is there anything I can do to prevent him doing this? Rita Page, Co Durham

A) Sean says: If Basil is a young cat it may be that he was taught to “hunt” hands and fingers as a kitten and sees it as a game. This is why fishing rod toys and lasers are a safer bet.

It could also be due to lack of play and stimulation. So get creative with playing and rotate his toys so he doesn’t get bored.

If he’s old though, he might be anxious about being touched in certain areas because he is uncomfortable or in pain. Arthritis is common in cats, and in their hips and spine in particular. A vet check will help find out.

Q) OUR Segugio hound has two walks a day in the woods.

There’s lots to sniff and chase which is great for a scent hound, yet he seems to have very vivid dreams as he yelps and his paws twitch. Is this OK, or should we wake him up? Maddy Mclaughlin, Gloucs

A) Sean says: It’s very common for favourite behaviours to come out in dogs’ dreams so no need to wake him. Just enjoy the sight of him tracking down wild boar in Italy while he sleeps. It’s totally normal.

Star of the week

Miracle has overcome hardship to make life better for others

MIRACLE was saved from a life on the streets – and now she’s helping to make life better for animals with disabilities.

The helpless week-old pup was covered in sores and maggots when she was discovered in 2015 by Victoria Bryceson, who was volunteering at an animal shelter in Borneo.

She survived and three months later Victoria brought her to the UK.

Today, Victoria, an events organiser from Carlisle, rehabilitates and rehomes animals, many of which have disabilities.

She plans to open a specialist centre in the UK with Miracle as the face of her not-for-profit Miracle’s Mission.

Victoria, 32, said: “We help as many animals as we can but with the centre, we would be able to help many more.”

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