Husky who won't move & Jack Russell with bad teeth — 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.”

Q) CAN you teach an old dog new tricks? I’ve recently rehomed a two-year-old Siberian husky called Woody and he just won’t do anything — unless I bribe him with cheese.

I end up chasing the ball while he just stares at me looking bored. He loves walks but if there’s a squirrel about he’s off like a rocket.


Sean says: Some dogs just don’t find joy in chasing balls. And look at you like you’re an idiot when you try to suggest it. Huskies are a smart and demanding dog, recall being one of the trickiest things to master.

If Woody is your first husky, I’d highly recommend getting a few lessons with a qualified dog trainer. And if you chose a Siberian husky rescue as your first dog, well then I admire your bravery and recommend even more strongly that you get a trainer.

He loves walks but if there’s a squirrel about he’s off like a rocket.

Q) Our three-year-old Welsh collie Luna has suddenly turned against going to many of her favourite spots.

Places that she would normally be pulling us to get to, she now pulls to get away from. She is very fit and active and gets at least two walks a day. At first she is very excited to go for a walk, then suddenly seems to “spook” midway through.

This happens every time we take her out and in lots of places, even when there’s no one about. What can we do?


Sean says: Are you sure the place isn’t haunted, Sue? Sure sounds spooky. I jest, but often when this happens something odd or scary has occurred and the dog is associating a place with some negative experience.

You might not have noticed at the time. I’d suggest keeping Luna on the lead for the time being and try to make visits to these places an exciting and positive experience. Lots of praise, treats and excitement.

Q) MY mother has a 13-year-old Jack Russell called Trigger. Last year he had his teeth cleaned and four removed.

He has just been for a check-up, only to be informed that he’s got gingivitis. Is there anything that can be rubbed on his gums safely to help?


Sean says: Don’t laugh, but have you considered brushing his teeth? Start with a finger brush and some scrummy meat-flavoured toothpaste for dogs. Don’t ever use human toothpaste!

Without regular brushing it’s inevitable that plaque and tartar will build up. This leads to gingivitis or inflamed gums, and eventually tooth loss. Brushing 3-4 times per week is the only way to halt it.

Refusal to move all of a sudden is a classic sign of acute or sudden pain.

Q) WE have a six-year-old golden retriever bitch named Dixie. She used to belong to my son and daughter-in-law until May 2017 when we rehomed her.

She is a lovely dog whose behaviour is impeccable. Everything about her was perfect until June when all of a sudden she stopped walking when out with me and would sit in the middle of the road and refuse to budge. Now it’s a regular thing.


Sean says: I suspect there is a physical problem here, perhaps with her neck, spine or joints. Refusal to move all of a sudden is a classic sign of acute or sudden pain. I’d get her checked by a vet ASAP. Or rule out a physical issue and investigate if it’s behavioural instead.

Star of the week

RESCUE horse Jasmine transformed the life of Amanda Gaughran, who felt suicidal over the loss of her 26-year-old daughter Genna to a brain tumour.

Amanda, 56, who lives in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, with husband Ed, 60, and son Phillip, said: “I’d cry in her mane and she’d nuzzle me as if to say, ‘Everything’s going to be OK, Mum’.”

She adopted the malnourished gypsy cob from Blue Cross.

Jasmine was so badly treated that she cannot be ridden – but she has become the perfect pet.

Amanda added: “We rescued each other in our times of need.”

New rules for travel with pets

PET owners planning to travel outside the UK after lockdown are being urged to check new post-Brexit rules first.

Globetrotting dogs, cats and ferrets now need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) ten days prior to travel and must obtain a new one each time they visit the EU or Northern Ireland, as pet passports are no longer valid.

They must also have a functioning microchip, a rabies vaccination and have been treated for tapeworm within five days of travel.

But the Kennel Club has hit out at the “inconsistent” rules, which they say could cost up to £100 per trip and lead to overmedication.

Ed Hayes, policy and public affairs manager, said: “These requirements mean that anyone travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland with their pets – whether holidaying or relocating – must now comply with financially burdensome, inconvenient and simply bureaucratic new rules, organising complex paperwork and more trips to the vet.”

Owners also can’t take their pet’s food if it contains meat, fish or dairy.

Ed added: “We’re glad our concerns are shared and this problematic policy is being reviewed.”

Win pup pack

GIVE your mucky pooch a makeover with this luxury pamper hamper filled with grooming goods, gifts and treats from Sniffe and Likkitt (

The collection uses natural ingredients specially formulated to be pH-balanced for your dog’s skin, helping to keep your hound and home fragrant.

Inside the hamper, worth £250, are cleansing wipes, dry shampoos, scented gift cards and conditioning balms.

To enter, send an email marked HAMPER to sundaypet[email protected]. T&Cs apply. Closing date February 14, 2021.

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