Why does my dog keep eating soil? Our pet vet answers all your questions


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 tails.com, 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 bulldog that keeps eating soil in the garden

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

Q) I HAVE an English bulldog called Molly and she has this annoying habit of eating soil in the garden.

She comes back in with it around her chops. What is it all about? She is three years old, wormed, and gets a great diet, exercise and stimulation.

Victoria Todd, Manchester

A) You don’t mention what diet and I do worry about some trends, such as for home-prepared raw food or other meals.

These are often imbalanced, and eating soil may be an attempt to get minerals or nutrients she’s missing.

Best make sure she’s on a balanced, commercially prepared diet formulated by qualified animal nutritionists.

The other possibility is she’s just developed a taste for the soil and sees it as fun.

Q) PEPPER, our tomcat, catches voles, shrews and mice then deposits them at our door.

Our dog Willow, who is a two-year-old springer spaniel, thinks it’s amazing and eats them. We worry they could harm her. Can you help?

Paul Birkitt, Gainsborough, Lincs

A) Oh dear, that’s a bit gross. To reduce Pepper’s chances of catching critters, you could keep him in around dawn and dusk or place two bells on his collar — better than one, which cats can learn to keep silent as they stalk.

While eating rodents in itself isn’t necessarily harmful to Willow, there are risks — leptospirosis or Weil’s disease and parasites.

So ensure cat and dog vaccinations, flea treatments and wormings are up to date. Your vet can advise on products.

Pepper the tomcat keeps catching voles, shrews and mice and depositing them at his owner’s door

Q) MY Border Collie, Toe, who is ten, has a crusty, dry patch on the left of his nose.

I have used creams but to no avail, as he licks them off. It’s just getting worse.

Ian Holliday, Redditch, Worcs

A) I don’t want to alarm you but there are a few worries. A vet examination is a good idea.

Toe is ten and this has suddenly appeared. It is only on one side of the nose and getting worse despite the moisturising.

These are all signs there could be something more serious than just dry skin, which would usually be on the entire nose.

It might be harmless. But better safe than sorry.

Tails.com provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Tails.com provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) MY cat Maisie became wobbly on her feet and was diagnosed as having vestibular disease.

The vet thinks she may have neurological problems, mentioned a brain tumour and suggested an MRI scan. But I don’t have insurance.

She was on steroids for two weeks, which made a difference. Now she’s off them, she is wobbly and cries for food, as if she can’t remember eating.

She purrs when I lift her but her back legs stick out. Is she suffering?

Sharon Thorne, Bournemouth

A) It’s hard to answer without examining her, so ask your vet for an honest discussion about your options. An MRI scan will only confirm or rule out a tumour.

It’s not a treatment so doesn’t change things if Maisie’s quality of life is getting worse.

Maybe continue steroids until she no longer feels well, then if we’re out of other options the kindest thing may be to let her go.

Star of the week

STRAY lambs Harry and Bob were found living in a coal shed before being adopted by Jill Walker.

She hand-reared them using wine bottles to feed them milk.

Jill Walker adopted stray lambs Harry and Bob

Jill, 50, from Edinburgh, who works for the Ecohuman health-and-beauty subscription box firm, has had Harry and Bob for three years and pampers them with baths.

She says: “It may sound odd to some people but they are my pets. They are little stars, as they provide companionship for me and my horse Freida.”

They even provide her with wool every year, which she sells for a little extra money.

She adds: “I’ve had them since they were babies. They are part of the family.”

Vet Brian’s streets ahead

A VET has raised £10,000 to help homeless people’s pets – by running 844 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Brian Faulkner celebrated his 50th birthday during the challenge, in aid of the charity StreetVet, which provides care for animals whose owners sleep rough.

Vet Brian Walker has raised £10,000 to help homeless people’s pets

He battled storms and sweltering heat and had a blister so big he needed 27 plasters.

Dad-of-two Brian, who lives with magistrate wife Georgia in Hacheston, Suffolk, says: “StreetVet support people who stay with their pets after losing their home, rather than abandon them.

“Only ten per cent of hostels and shelters accept pets so they have to choose between a home or being with a pet. StreetVet’s work is incredible.”

Brian adds: “Running so far was an emotional roller-coaster.

“There were days when it rained from start to finish, wind and storms – then a heatwave.”

StreetVet has 500 vets and nurses in 16 cities across the UK and has given 4,500 consultations since 2016.

Co-founder Jade Statt said: “What Brian has done is incredible. The money will help as we go into winter.”

  • To support StreetVet, visit: streetvet.co.uk/donate-now

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