Pet questions - 09/02/13

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Stuart McMorrow answers your pet questions

Q Our one-year-old dog Bitzie keeps getting us up at 4am needing to go to the toilet, then she expects to stay up and play with us. We make sure she goes out before bedtime at 11pm, but she’s driving us crazy as we can’t get a proper night’s sleep.

A Most healthy dogs should be able to last a full night without needing to go to the toilet. Continue to encourage Bitzie to go to the toilet last thing at night, so that she has an empty bladder when she goes to bed. You should also take her to be checked by your vet in case there is a medical cause.

Q Is there anything I can do to stop my dog going in the cat litter tray? Every time my kittens go to the toilet my dog is always there eating it.

A Eating the faeces of other animals, also known as coprophagia, is fairly common in dogs. Sometimes it is a sign of a dietary deficiency – this is quite rare but I would recommend you discuss the behaviour with your vet so they can check for an underlying medical cause. You could also try sprinkling some cayenne pepper on some faeces to teach your dog that they taste unpleasant.

Q We have a house rabbit, Bing, who is normally very well behaved. But lately he’s started to wee in certain areas, and I even caught him chewing on a TV wire. Can we change his behaviour, or do we need to consider moving him outdoors?

A Chewing the wires can be very dangerous, so you need to prevent Bing from having access to these immediately. If this isn’t practical then you should consider housing Bing in the garden with another rabbit as a companion. They should have a large hutch with a large exercise run permanently attached. The best pairing is usually a neutered male with a neutered female, but you should get expert advice on how to introduce two rabbits safely, to avoid aggression between them. You should also get Bing health-checked by your vet, in case there is a medical reason why his weeing habits have changed.