Earlier this year I took on a rescue dog, Scruff, and I hear that there’s lots of festive foods that be poisonous to pets. Is this true? Kathy

Kathy, yes you’re right, there are many foods which are safe for us but can be incredibly harmful to our pets. Many owners are unaware of the dangers certain human foods pose to pets, and this is all-the-more important around Christmas-time when poisonous foods are in abundance! Foods including, chocolate, onions, grapes, some nuts, sage-and-onion stuffing and raisins found in mince pies and cakes, can all be harmful and should be kept safely out of paws’ reach. If Scruff accidentally gets his paws on any of these foods, you should call your vet urgently as in worse cases, this can be fatal, depending on how much they have eaten. If you want to give Scruff a treat this Christmas, make sure it’s dog safe.

Our rabbit lives indoors with the run of the house and garden. She’s normally well-behaved but has recently chewed a hole in our sofa and tried to build a nest! Why is she doing this? Bebe

Female rabbits are strongly driven by their hormones and it’s natural for your unneutered female to ‘nest’, even if she’s not pregnant. I’d recommend asking your vet about getting her neutered, – not only will this help prevent nesting, it will also prevent conditions like cancer of the womb or even hormonal aggression which can affect un-neutered bunnies. It’s important to keep her happy by providing an environment as close to nature as possible. Removing her nest could upset her, so instead provide her with a more suitable alternative, a dark warm space that she feels she can burrow into where her (potential kittens could be safe) and entice her to move into it, using some of the original nesting material so her scent is transferred. Rabbits are very sociable, so providing her with another neutered rabbit companion may help to keep her happy too.

My vet’s told me my cat has roundworm eggs in his stools. He uses his litter tray, but I am still concerned that my two small children might catch them. Can this happen? Vicki

Yes, there is a risk of picking up worms or other diseases from cats faeces.

Roundworms can be harmful to humans and particularly children, as well as pets. Having regular worming treatment, recommended by your vet is the most effective way of preventing worms. Clean out litter trays immediately after use and remember that cats can find garden beds or sandpits particularly enticing to use as a toilet too. Hand hygiene is really important, particularly for pregnant women and children who should wash their hands after playing with pets, emptying litter trays or playing outdoors and especially before eating.

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