From zoned-out pooches to dogs with hacking coughs — 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.”

Today, our pet vet helps a Cockapoo who seems to be a little zoned-out

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

Q) MY four-year-old Cockapoo sometimes lies on the bed in the morning with his eyes open, just staring into space.

If he’s like that, when I shout at him he jumps as if he was asleep. Should I be worried?

Toni McDonagh, Stoke-on-Trent

A) Maybe he’s possessed by an evil demon! That’s what I thought when my older brother slept with his eyes open when we shared a room growing up. Anyway, I digress.

This is fine, nothing to worry about. Some dogs (and people) just forget to close their eyes when they doze off.

Q) OUR much-loved 11-year-old rescue Chihuahua, Rob, started with a hacking cough/squeak in February, as though he is trying to clear his throat.

But it has got worse. Now it is more like a wheezing cough and a very high-pitched continual squeak.

He has been diagnosed with a heart murmur and is on medication. Can anything else be done?

Christine and John Eddleston, Warrington, Cheshire

A) From what you describe, and the list of medications, it sounds like Rob has congestive heart failure, which is a manageable disease.

But ultimately, it will get worse, and you’ll need to work closely with your vet to adjust his dosage of medications and potentially add new ones to keep his lungs clear and reduce his cough or shortness of breath.

Bramble the King Charles won’t stop barking

Q) WE recently rescued a King Charles spaniel called Bramble.

She is two years old and has settled in fabulously but she barks at animals on the telly, mainly dogs and people walking past our house.

We have tried pet corrector spray, high frequency noise and vibration collars, but she carries on barking.

Sam Woolnough, Chichester, West Sussex

A) Barking at other animals can be caused by fear, anxiety or being territorial and because she only does this at home I’m thinking it is the latter.

I’m also think it is ingrained behaviour — in other words, one that’s going to be difficult to improve. I strongly recommend getting in a qualified canine behaviourist.

Gillian wants to know why her Labrador is constantly scratching her tummy

Q) MY seven-year-old Labrador, Cassie, is constantly scratching her tummy with her back legs. She also nibbles her paws making them sore.

I rub Sudocrem on her tummy, but it doesn’t make any difference. Help!

Gillian Eaves, Southam, Warks

A) Sudocrem is rarely the answer. And it can actually be ­harmful to dogs if they lick it off.

The pattern of itching can lend a clue to the cause, and with Cassie nibbling her paws and scratching her tummy, this is more likely to be an environmental allergy rather than fleas or food.

It really is worth a vet visit to try to get to the bottom of the problem. provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) HOW often can I bath my new puppy Jasper?

He’s 11 weeks old and used to live on a farm and is really stinky.

Owen McDonald, Scunthorpe

A) You can bath him a ­couple of times a week with a puppy- friendly shampoo.

After that it depends on many ­factors — coat type, lifestyle, how dirty they get.

You don’t want to bathe him too often or you can dry out the coat and skin, stripping the natural oils that keep Jasper looking shiny. Once a month is plenty at most.

Star of the week

NEVER mind downward dog – it’s the time for upward cat with rescue kitty Domino.

The Devon Rex is forever hopping on the mat to strike a pose with yoga teacher and postnatal personal trainer Eliza Flynn.

Our star of the week is Domino – a rescue kitty who likes to join her owner for a spot of yoga

Owner Eliza, 38, from North London, says: “She came to live with us two years ago.

“At first she was shy but soon blossomed into a bolshy, head-butting cat.

“Domino has been such a tonic for me and, during lockdown, when I put my classes online, she decided to join me.

“She can often be found on the mat and joins in with squats. Even though I’m sweaty, she’ll climb on me for a cuddle. The ladies in the classes love her.”

Mission to treat poorly pets at home

A KIND-HEARTED vet nurse is on a mission to ensure pet owners have access to care for their ­animal at home.

Carla Finzel is the UK’s first ever District Veterinary Nurse (DVN) and visits poorly pets in their homes, providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable.

Selfless vet nurse Carla Finzel visits poorly pets in their homes

Since lockdown, demand is at a record high and she wants to raise money to support other vet nurses to offer the same help.

The 49-year-old, from Brighton, said: “Coronavirus has been devastating, particularly for more vulnerable pet owners who have been forced to stay at home and shield.

“Their pet is their life and often their only company.

“There has never been a stronger need for District Veterinary Nurses.”

Carla’s typical day will see her administer ­medicine, check wounds, give eye and ear drops and support pets during cancer treatment.

Her dream is to build a database so owners can find a DVN near them.

She is crowdfunding to raise £10,000 to provide equipment and training.

Carla said: “My dream is for there to be a District Veterinary Nurse for every five mile radius.”

  • You can help Carla at

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