How can we persuade our collie to accept our new kitten? 


Dear Pete

How can we persuade our rough collie, Cooper, to accept a kitten that we’ve taken in? We thought the kitten might be good company for him, but he went crazy when we introduced them to each other. He is such a loving, loyal dog and I know he’s upset. Do you think it can work?

HM, Aberdeen

Dear HM

Dogs and cats can become great friends, but introductions need to be done carefully and slowly. It’s best to have the kitten in the house for a week or so before the pets meet at all. Carry out “scent swapping”: exchanging their bedding, and stroking each pet, then stroking the other, without washing your hands, so that they get to know each other’s smell.

Let the kitten explore your house when Cooper is outside. Finally, on the day of introduction, have the kitten in a safe dog-crate-style wire cage. Keep Cooper on the leash, and use positive rewards for good, calm behaviour. For more, see bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/introducing-dogs-and-cats.

Dear Pete

Our five-year-old spaniel is experiencing repeated problems with his anal sacs. Over four or five weeks, they “fill up” and need to be discharged by the vet. This causes the dog distress, and we have to live with his unpleasant odours and the vet costs. Is there any dietary remedy, or is surgery the only answer? If the latter – is this safe?

AL, Staffordshire

Dear AL

Some anal sac problems are helped by giving extra fibre in the diet to bulk things up, resulting in more effective emptying of the sacs. Either feed him a high-fibre diet, or add a fibre product to his normal diet (e.g. protexin.com/products/pro-fibre/31).

Surgery is the best alternative if this does not work: dogs do not need anal sacs, as their only function is to produce a territorial scent. There can be a small risk of incontinence after the operation, so be sure to discuss this in detail with your vet.

Pets are gaining popularity with young adults

The latest national pet survey from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association shows that this year more than one third (35 per cent) of young adults (age 24-35) have become new pet owners, or are planning to add a pet to their families. Dogs are the most popular pet (57 per cent) while cats are a close second (38 per cent) and small furries are third (eight per cent). For more interesting snippets about the UK’s pet population, see pfma.org.uk/statistics.

Rescue pets

Rascal, Dexter and Thor are two-year-old ferret brothers looking for a home together. Call Church Knowle Rehoming and Visitor Centre on 01929 480474 or email churchknowle@mgar.org.uk.

To view outcomes of rescued pets, see petethevet.com/rescues.

Send queries to petsubjects@telegraph.co.uk or tweet @PeteTheVet. All sick animals should be taken to a vet.



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