Don’t settle for pet theories, get pet answers! Veterinary surgeon Holly Norman answers your animal health questions
I just wanted to know if it was normal for my dog to eat grass? At this time of year he just keeps wanting to chew grass in the garden. He’s fine otherwise.
If this is a very sudden change and he doesn’t usually do this, I’d recommend getting him checked out by your vet. Eating grass can be a sign of nausea or an upset tummy and so if he’s poorly or being sick, he definitely needs a health check. If your dog is fine in himself and acting normally otherwise, he probably just likes the taste! During the summer, this can be a very normal finding as dogs particularly like the soft fresh grass that is coming through at this time of year. We forget that dog are natural scavengers and would often supplement their diet with whatever they could find. My dogs love eating the new shoots of grass and always have done, although I still find it odd watching them!
I recently had to take my cat to the vets to have a tick removed. I think she’s been playing with hedgehogs in the garden! Is there any way of stopping her from getting ticks?
Ouch! Your poor cat! Ticks aren’t very nice things at all! You did completely the right thing as the vets or nurses will usually use a little gadget to remove ticks. You can buy them at vet practices or in pet shops and they make sure that you remove the whole tick and don’t leave any of the head still buried in the skin. If the head gets accidentally left behind it can become very inflamed and sore for the pet. There are lots of options for preventing ticks in cats (and dogs) from a collar (safety release, of course!) to a three monthly spot on. There are some cheaper versions that you can buy over the counter but these often don’t work as well. And never ever put dog treatment on a cat as some products contain permethrin, which is poisonous to cats. Q:
My vet has recommended that my dog has a dental procedure and that he might have to have lots of teeth out! Will he be OK without any teeth?
Firstly, I know it’s really scary when your pet is due to go under a general anaesthetic. But I promise, at the practice the veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses are experts in their fields and your dog is in the best hands. We regularly have to do anaesthetics on very elderly or very sick patients and we tailor everything to your pet to make sure that it’s as low risk as possible. We perform lots of dental procedures at the practice and these can range from a scale and polish to address any staining to having to take out multiple teeth. Cats and dogs don’t get the same dental problems as us as they don’t eat sweets and this means that we rarely do fillings or crowns. If the teeth are wobbly or infected or broken, we will often remove the entire tooth. Your dog may have to have a lot of teeth out but if he does, don’t worry. Dogs and cats cope exceptionally well with a few teeth or even no teeth and are often still happily crunching away on dry biscuits or treats. I would always recommend offering them soft food during the first few days after the operation as, a bit like us, they’re usually a bit sore and uncomfortable but after that they can often go back onto their normal food.
Dr Holly Norman BSc (Hons) BVetMed MRCVS veterinary surgeon and Joint Venture Partner at: Peterborough Vets4Pets 231-233 St Paul’s Road Peterborough PE1 3RL Tel: 01733 890777 & Bretton Vets4Pets Inside Pets at Home Unit 2 The Bretton Centre Peterborough PE3 8DN Tel: 01733 261094