DEAR PDSA Vet: My dog’s teeth are quite discoloured, but she won’t let me brush them. How can I clean them? Kirin

This discolouration could be tartar which is caused by a build-up of plaque and can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay. Tartar can be removed by de-scaling the teeth under general anaesthetic and it’s best to take your vet’s advice on whether this is necessary. Daily brushing can help prevent a build-up of plaque but you’ll need to start slowly. Let your dog taste their dog-safe toothpaste first, it tastes like a treat! Gradually build up to applying it with a soft cloth along the gum line and tooth. Eventually you should be able to apply the paste with a finger tooth brush then a proper dog toothbrush. Dental chews and special dental diets are also useful when combined with tooth-brushing.

Dear PDSA Vet: I have a five-year-old bunny called Larry and I want to get a friend for him. How can I do this safely? Molly

Being kept alone can cause loneliness and boredom in rabbits, so a companion is ideal. It’s important that your rabbits are well-bonded or they can fight. A neutered male with a neutered female is usually the friendliest rabbit pairing. Once Larry’s neutered, let your new rabbit live close to him by dividing the hutch with mesh or placing a second hutch nearby. Start to swap some of their bedding so that they become familiar with each other’s smells. Once used to one another’s presence, let them meet in a neutral place to avoid territorial behaviour. Several short meets per day are ideal, but keep an eye on them! The process can take from hours to months, but you will know they’ve bonded when they start lying next to each other.

Dear PDSA Vet: Our 11-month-old cat keeps climbing tall trees and I have to rescue her. How can we stop this? Cole

Cats feel most secure when high up, so your kitten may be looking for somewhere to escape from things she is finding stressful. She might be finding there are other cats or new experiences, such as the lockdown changes, that are making her more nervous. Make sure there are plenty of high-up hiding places and cat beds that she can safely access if she’s feeling worried. To find out how to minimise stress in your cat, visit

Dear PDSA Vet: I want to train my Beagle to go off-lead and come back to me in the park. What’s the best way to do this? Pauline

It’s essential for dogs to be trained to understand basic commands, especially recall which can keep your dog safe when they’re out. The mistake some owners make is only asking their dog to ‘come’ when they’re going home after a day in the park – when a dog is having such a good time it’s no wonder they don’t want to return! The best way is using positive rewards, such as a favourite treat or toy, so that they know they will get something nice when they come to you. By calling your dog back during a walk, when he doesn’t have to go home afterwards, he will learn that it doesn’t mean the end of his fun.