From pesky pooches to hyper hamsters — your pet queries answered


HE is on a mission to help our pets  . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions. Sean McCormack, 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.”

Emma’s dog likes to raid her closet for her knickers and socks

Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'

Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

Q) MY six-year-old labradoodle Blue is a knicker and sock raider.

If she gets in the laundry basket she’ll make off with whatever she can find.

I had my parents round and she was running about with my underwear in her mouth. She’s got plenty of toys. What can I do?

Emma Collins, 28, full-time mum, Leeds

A) I’ve fished many a pair of knickers out of a dog’s belly in my time, especially from labradors.

The only way to stop it is to prevent them accessing the laundry basket.

After that, it’s a case of training Blue out of the habit.

Try to find another toy or treat that gets her going and do some training, heaping praise when she replaces the unwanted object in her mouth for the one you want her to play with.

Q) I HAVE a hamster, Hannibal, who is eight months old and likes to run on his wheel until it spins him upside down. Sometimes he flies off.

I worry he’s going to hurt himself but he doesn’t seem to mind.

Have you got any other suggestions to help him burn off all his energy?

Aimee Bullen, 18, student, Plympton, Devon

A) Those spinning wheels can become really addictive for hamsters when confined to a tiny cage with not much else to do.

Hamsters in the wild can roam up to five miles in a single evening.

Most cages sold for hamsters are far too small, so see if you can invest in a bigger cage, preferably one with multiple levels, tunnels and tubes connecting the various spaces.

Supervised roaming in a secure area outside the cage is recommend­ed. If you do have a wheel, ensure it is solid, rather than having ladder rungs as these can cause injury.

Aimee’s hamster Hannibal loves his wheel a bit too much and sometimes he flies off provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) MY Yorkshire terrier Popsy hates the postman.

She waits for him to come and turns into a monster. When the letters come through the door, if I don’t get there in time, she tears them to pieces.

She’s a wonderful pet apart from this one obsession.

George Main, 60, retired, Edinburgh

A) This is classic behaviour. Popsy thinks, “Who’s this strange man trying to get into my home?”.

She barks as she’s scared and defending her home from an “intruder”.

Postman rattles the door, shaking her nerves. Then the postman leaves.

Every day, Popsy thinks, “It’s my brave barking that saw that strange man off”.

Ask the postman if he can stay an extra minute sometimes and make friends with Popsy by giving her a treat to break the cycle.

Q) MY German shepherd, Major, is ten years old and his companion dog Millie recently died at 14.

He’s not eating properly and looks sad. He has my two cats for company but it’s not quite the same for him.

Major is always trying to get me to fuss him and play more. I try my best but I’m in a wheelchair after losing my left leg to sepsis 16 years ago.

Relatives bring their dogs to play but they go home and he’s sad again. He also has a dog walker.

Pam Richards, retired nurse, 65, North Wales

A) The good news is that animals tend to get over their grief and return to normal far quicker than we might.

Spoil him for a bit, maybe an extra walk with people he knows, more fuss and play.

Perhaps there is a neighbour with a dog he could go on play dates with.

He’ll adjust to life as the dog of the house.