Pet Answers

Pet Answers

Don’t settle for pet theories, get pet answers! Veterinary surgeon Holly Norman answers your animal health questions.

Q: My dog has just started scratching a lot and chewing her paws. What do you think could be causing it?
A: Oh dear! We see lots of itchy dogs at the practice and there are a number of reasons they can be scratching. Often the simplest first step is to make sure they’re up to date on flea and tick treatment. Many over the counter treatments aren’t effective and you may need to use a prescription product from your vet. Cats are much more likely to get fleas or bring fleas into your house and garden. So if your dog lives with a cat, or you have neighbouring cats, make sure you treat your pooch all year round. Then there are other reasons for scratching, such as fungal and bacterial infections, mites or allergies. Your vet will sometimes take a little scraping
of the surface of the skin to check under a microscope for infections and mites and be able to advise you. Itching can be uncomfortable for your dog and so if it’s not settling down, it’s worth a trip to your local vet to see what’s going on.

Q: My dog has started eating grass when out in the garden. Is this normal?
A: 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 feeling sick or an upset tummy, so if he’s poorly or vomiting 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 very normal as dogs particularly like the soft fresh grass that is coming through at this time of year. We forget that dogs 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!

Pet AnswersQ: I have a white cat and I’ve heard that I should be putting sun cream on her in the summer. Is this true?
A: You’re right! Dogs and cats with white ears or noses are susceptible to getting sunburn, just like humans.In severe cases sunburn can develop into squamous cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer and this particularly affects the ears of white cats. During the summer months we would recommend applying a sun-block to pale ears and noses at least once daily, and many pet shops and vet practices now stock cat and dog friendly sun-cream.

Dr Holly Norman BSc(Hons) BVetMed MRCVS Veterinary surgeon and Practice 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

Do you have a pet or animal health question? Send it to us at:
Holly will endeavour to answer all questions, whether published or not!

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