Dear PDSA Vet,

I have two rats called Ant and Dec.

I feed them both dry rat food and no unhealthy treats, plus they have a large cage to run around in and are allowed out to exercise every day.

Dec is fine but Ant is overweight. How can I get him to lose weight?


Dear Dave,

I would suggest that you get both of your rats checked by a vet to rule out a medical cause for Ant’s larger size.

Your vet will also be able to offer advice and tips on reducing his weight.

Many rats that are given seed-based dry food mixes ‘selectively feed’, picking out tasty, fatty bits that they like such as sunflower seeds, peanuts and biscuits.

If you feed a mix, and notice that Ant selects bits that he likes, this could be part of the problem.

You can help tackle this issue by feeding them commercial rat nuggets and measuring out their food.

Also, give them plenty of ways to burn off some energy, like an exercise wheel, as well as boxes and tubes.

Dear PDSA Vet,

We rescued an 18-month-old greyhound recently, Harvey.

He has a strange habit of hiding his collar and lead underneath things.

He loves going out for walks and runs though, so we don’t understand why he does this.


Dear Robert,

Clues as to why our pets behave the way they do can often be found by looking at the behaviour of their wild ancestors.

Burying things was once key to the survival of dogs’, because it allowed food to be safely concealed, which they could then return to eat at a later date.

Some domestic dogs are likely to have inherited this tendency, but may apply it to any items that they consider to be “high value”.

So in this case it might be that Harvey thinks his collar and lead are very important!

Another reason might be that he thinks it’s a fun game due to your reactions.

He also may have been inadvertently rewarded with attention or fun when he ‘hid’ these things at first, leading him to continue doing it.

The easiest way to stop this is to give him other toys to play with and hide and keep his lead out of reach, but ignore him if he does hide the lead (retrieve it later in secret when he’s not paying attention).

Dear PDSA Vet,

Our old cat Bilbo has started to howl and meow loudly during the night. He never used to do this and it’s keeping the whole family up. What can we do? Matthew

Dear Matthew, you need to take Bilbo to your vet as there are some medical conditions which can cause a cat to vocalise more, especially at night. One possibility is an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). This can cause cats to seem hyperactive and more irritable or aggressive than usual.

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity.

We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment.

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.