Vets and Pets

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Vincent McMorrow answers your pet-related questions

Q: My seven-month-old puppy has a rather disgusting habit – she eats her own faeces. We’ve tried lots of things, including stool repellent tablets, but she has now taken to concealing it in the hedge as she knows we’re waiting to pick it up. Please help!

A: Some puppies start doing this if they are bored and don’t have enough activities to keep them occupied. Make sure you spend time playing with her and give her plenty of chances to run around. This behaviour can sometimes develop due to a nutrient deficiency, so check you are feeding a complete puppy food and get her health checked by your vet. Whenever possible, clean up after her as soon as she has gone to the toilet. You could also try putting something on the faeces that will cause her to sneeze, such as finely ground white or cayenne pepper.

Q: My Persian kitten has very matted fur on her tummy. She won’t let me brush it, although she does let me brush other areas. The breeder I bought her from says I’ll need to have her tummy shaved to sort it out, but that sounds drastic. What can I do?

A: As her fur is already matted, grooming is probably quite painful, which is why she won’t let you. Although it sounds drastic, getting her tummy shaved is the kindest thing to do. Depending on her reaction, she may need to be sedated at the vet so she can be clipped and groomed more easily.

• Stuart McMorrow is based at Edinburgh’s PDSA PetAid Hospital, 26 Hutchison Crossway, 0131-443 6178