DEAR PDSA Vet: I think that my rabbit Toffee is drinking more than normal – is this ok? Is it best to provide my rabbit with water in a bowl or a bottle? Thanks, Paul

Excessive drinking can be a sign of a medical problem, so I recommend taking Toffee to a vet for a health check in the first place. Changes in temperature and what your rabbit’s eating can also affect how much they drink. Check for the latest advice on feeding. Rabbits usually prefer to drink from bowls rather than bottles, as it’s more natural for them. Bowls should be checked frequently throughout the day, cleaned and refilled with fresh water regularly as rabbits can tip them over or even poo in them! If using a bottle you should regularly check that the dropper is not blocked, but think about what would suit your rabbit best.

Dear PDSA Vet: Over the past couple of weeks, my rat Remy has had a snotty nose, a cough and been quite sleepy. Remy is only three, so what would you suggest to make him King Rat again? James

It sounds like Remy could have a respiratory infection, which is quite common in rats. This can cause symptoms like the snotty nose, coughing and tiredness you describe. Because of his small size, Remy could become very ill very quickly, so you will need to take him to see your vet as soon as possible. They will give him a full check-up and advise if any treatment is needed. Make sure you keep him warm, with a well ventilated room that is free of draughts. Avoid dusty bedding material: paper or cardboard based are best. Keep a close watch that he’s eating and drinking and report any changes to your vet.

Dear PDSA Vet: I have a terrier called Pippin. She won’t stop itching her skin and it looks sore. What’s wrong? Harriet

A common cause of itchy skin is parasites like fleas, even if you have never seen them on your dog.

Some animals are so sensitive, that even one bite while out on a walk will set them off, so it’s sensible to use regular preventive treatments. Ask your vet to check Pippin over.

If a flea problem is ruled out, the itching could be a skin allergy to something else. The most common allergies in dogs are caused by pollens, dust mites and foods.

Your vet may start Pippin on a treatment regime to help with the itching after a thorough clinical examination, but it’s important to understand that allergies are a condition that you will likely need to manage throughout her life.

Dear PDSA Vet: When I am on the phone, my six month old spaniel pulls on my clothes and tries to get my attention. Why is he doing this? Sarah

Attention seeking like this can become a problem, if it’s allowed to continue. The best way to tackle this is to make sure he isn’t rewarded when he does this unwanted behaviour.

Any contact at all from you, such as pushing him away or responding verbally can be viewed by your dog as attention, so don’t respond at all or make eye contact.

Give praise and reward as soon as he stops and remains calm, so he knows that this is the desired behaviour. If the behaviour persists then you can ask your vet for advice, they may recommend referral to an accredited behaviourist.