THE PDSA answer your pet posers

Dear PDSA Vet

My three-year-old German Shepherd, Chunk, is very friendly. Possibly too friendly – he jumps up on people to greet them and I’m worried that he might knock people over, especially children! What can I do? Janine


Dear Janine,

Most people probably realise Chunk is just being overly-friendly, but if this happens in public and scares someone it can become an issue. Solving this problem takes patience and consistent behaviour and training from all people coming into contact with Chunk. When he jumps up, it’s best to ignore him. Stand silent with arms folded and don’t look at him. Chunk should only be greeted and praised when he settles down with all four feet on the ground. Eventually he will learn that jumping up results in being ignored. As Chunk is now three, this is a learned behaviour that needs careful relearning but, with perseverance, eventually he should

learn that if he is calm and stays down he will be greeted and made a fuss of. Members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers can also help; visit to find a dog trainer in your area.


Dear PDSA Vet

I’ve heard that there is a maximum age for breeding female guinea pigs – that they can have problems if they try to give birth after

a certain age. Is the same true of rabbits? Tim


Dear Tim, There is no upper age limit for breeding rabbits, but pregnancy and giving birth can be risky and PDSA recommends getting your rabbits

neutered rather than breeding from them. As age increases, so does risk, and at any age there can be problems during and after the pregnancy, such as metabolic problems, uterine torsion and premature birth. Some un-neutered female rabbits display problematic behaviour such as mounting (attempting to mate) other rabbits, aggression, nesting and mood swings. Therefore neutering has important health and social benefits, calming relationships between rabbits allowing for easier bonding. It can also prevent diseases such as tumours in the uterus, which affects up to 80% of un-neutered female rabbits. For these reasons, neutering is always something we would recommend to help keep your rabbits as happy and healthy as possible. For further information on how to provide for all of your rabbits needs, take a look at


Dear PDSA Vet

Sammy, my Labrador, has two lumps on either side of his mouth.  They are about the size of a pea and look a bit like boils, but they

don’t seem to be causing him pain and he’s eating and drinking as normal.  Will they go away themselves? Emma


Dear Emma,

Pets can get all sorts of lumps and bumps, and there are lots of different causes for these. Most are not serious but some can need treatment so, to be on the safe side, I’d advise taking Sammy to your vet to have these lumps checked. If further tests are suggested they might take a sample of cells from the lump to be sent away and looked at more closely. It’s also worth monitoring their size and noting any changes. However, your vet may conclude they are nothing to be concerned about and would be best left alone and monitored for the time being. Your vet will advise you of the most appropriate course of action. For more information visit

Dear PDSA Vet

My cat, Puss, keeps bringing dead birds and mice into the house and leaving them at the front door, which isn’t very nice for us! How can I get her to stop? George


Dear George

Cats are predators and hunting is natural behaviour for them. This is not necessarily linked to hunger; even cats that are well-fed will catch birds and small rodents because of their instinct to chase. Puss brings her prey back to the house because she views it as a safe place. It is perfectly normal, but many owners understandably find this unpleasant! One approach to try and reduce her hunting is to play games that let her carry out hunting-type behaviours of stalking, chasing and pouncing. Toys which move quickly and unpredictably, such as fishing rod-type toys, are ideal. By letting her act on her hunting instinct with suitable toys, she may not then feel the need to hunt outdoors. There is no guarantee of success with this method though, so you may also want to consider fitting her with a collar and bell – just make sure this is a quick-release collar to prevent injuries.