Pet Questions

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Q I have two dogs that keep scratching.

We’ve given them regular flea tablets, washed them regularly in flea shampoo, washed all their bedding and don’t have carpets downstairs, but they are still scratching. I can’t see any sign of fleas though, and my two cats don’t scratch at all. Someone suggested garlic tablets, but do these really help?

A When trying to get rid of fleas, it is essential to treat both your pets and your home, as you have done. Some over-the-counter treatments may not be as effective as those prescribed by a vet. Dog flea treatment must never be used on a cat as this can cause fatal poisoning. Garlic tablets may repel fleas, but are unlikely to kill them all, which is essential to prevent constant re-infestation. It is important to rule out fleas with your vet’s help, but your vet will also check for other possible causes, such as mites, a skin infection or an irritant in their environment.

Q I would like a pet dog, but I’m unable to do a lot of walking so am worried that I wouldn’t be able to provide enough exercise. Can you suggest a breed that doesn’t need much exercise?

A Smaller breeds can require up to 30 minutes of exercise each day, compared to a breed like a border collie which requires around two hours of vigorous exercise each day. One option for you might be to rehome an older dog that doesn’t require as much exercise as it used to. I would suggest you look at PDSA’s Your Right Pet website (

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