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From a grieving dog to inside cats — 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.

Sean helps out with a grieving King Charles spaniel
Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

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) OUR King Charles Alfie is pining for his sister who passed away suddenly.

Is there anything we can do for him?

Andy Derry, Cannock, Staffs

Sean says: I’m afraid time is the best healer here. I’m often surprised when asked if pets grieve. They do, just like us.

But we don’t know what exactly they are going through and also can’t explain to them why their companion has died.

One of the best ways to help Alfie move on and enjoy life again is to ensure he has plenty of time with friends — other dogs to go for walks with.

You might consider another companion too, and that’s fine.

You’re not replacing his sister, but I recognise this isn’t easy for everyone and that’s also fine.

Q) MY parents have just adopted a cat, Crunch, and we have been really debating on whether to keep him inside.

What do you recommend?

Sophie Jones, Exeter

Sean says: This is a tricky one. It’s a balance between the mental stimulation benefits of allowing Crunch a free life to come and go as he pleases outdoors.

But lots of that can be provided indoors and with an outdoor enclosure or “catio”.

We’re seeing a move away from free roaming outdoor cats in the UK and it’s almost the norm in the US.

The benefits to cats are that they avoid road vehicle collisions, injuries from fighting, certain diseases and parasites, as well as having less of an effect on our struggling native wildlife — many species of which can’t cope with the density of pet cats we have roaming our gardens, parks and countryside.

Q) I’M thinking of building a pond in my garden for some goldfish.

I’ve had mine in an aquarium inside. Can I transfer them outside and what do you recommend for the transition?

Ben Frank, Burnley

Sean says: I’m glad you’re thinking this way Ben, as goldfish are really not that suitable for an indoor aquarium unless it is very large and very well filtered.

They are much better off in a pond where they can grow to their full size and live more naturally.

Make it as big as you can afford, make sure to include plenty of plants for cover.

And use a trip-line or netting to protect it from your local heron who may pay a visit for a fish supper.

It’s best not to put them out now, but wait until early summer. That gives you plenty of time to get digging.

Q) MY labrador shakes whenever he hears loud noises and, if he’s not on the lead, he runs in terror.

What can I do as it’s so upsetting?

Andy Brown, Wigan

Sean says: Sorry to hear that Andy.

It sounds like he’s had some bad experiences with loud noises or at least worked himself up a lot over them.

We used to think you could train a dog not to be scared, but actually anxiety and fear are a natural emotion.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to just train that response out of your Labrador, but what you can do is try two very effective techniques. provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

They take some time and consistency to slowly build your dog’s confidence around loud noises.

They’re called desensitisation and response substitution.

Read up on them online and do consider enlisting the help of a professional behaviourist to help set you tasks, as some of the issues may relate to how you are reacting when it happens too.

Star of the week

Anca the smartly dressed rescue dog is our star of the week

ANCA the rescue dog has swapped the streets of Romania for the title of Britain’s most paw-fessional office pooch.

The two-year-old pup keeps her owner Ellie Patterson company when working from home.

Ellie, 31, of Aberdeen, who entered her into a national competition run by, said: “She works hard Monday to Friday in her office supporting me.

Her tasks include napping, demanding attention and stealing sandwiches.

“Anca is due her two-year appraisal in November and is on her best behaviour in the hope of a gravy bone increase.”

A cat a day keeps the doctor away

Owning a cat is good for your health, a study shows

CATS are good for your health, a new survey has revealed.

The poll of more than 10,000 cat owners showed that 21 per cent own a cat to help them feel less stressed, while 67 per cent say their pet gives them something to get up for in the morning.

And 87 per cent spend every day stroking or sitting with them which has been scientifically proven to lower owners’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Many said their cats helped their family learn life lessons, with studies showing that pet ownership improves health and social behaviour in children.

The Cats And Their Stats 2022 survey was carried out by Cats Protection.

Mike Elliot, director of operations at the charity, said: “It’s no surprise that cats continue to be important companions for people, bringing associated benefits for everyone.

“As the UK’s leading cat rehoming charity, we’re proud to create strong companion animal bonds that are more important than ever in times of uncertainty.

“To achieve this, we carefully match cats and new owners by considering everyone’s needs.

“We stay in touch post-adoption, offering support, and love receiving updates.”

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