DEAR PDSA Vet: I’ve just brought home my first pet budgie. I want to give him treats but I’m worried that I might make him sick, what should I be feeding him? Julian

Good nutrition is essential and all birds require a specific diet tailored to their needs.

I’d suggest investing in good quality pellet food as your budgie’s base diet, as these contain just the right amount of nutrients.

Pellet foods are now much more easily digestible for birds, so you shouldn’t need to purchase any grit. Fresh fruits and veggies make great healthy treats - one or two thumbnail-sized pieces per budgie per day is ideal.

Cut them into manageable pieces and wash well to remove any chemicals. Introduce any new foods slowly over at least a week to avoid giving your budgie an upset stomach.

For more information on providing a healthy life for your budgie, visit

Dear PDSA Vet: My eight-year-old Yorkshire Terrier has terrible breath, even though I give her dental sticks. Is this normal? Dave

Halitosis (or bad doggy breath) isn’t as normal as we might think – it’s most often a sign of dental disease.

Often caused by tartar (plaque) build up, gum infections, or tooth root abscesses. Sadly, your Yorkshire Terrier is among many breeds that are more prone to dental issues.

Though your dog might not appear to be in discomfort at the moment, changes in their breath can sometimes signify more serious conditions such as kidney or gut problems and even diabetes.

I’d advise contacting your vet so their mouth can be thoroughly examined – a task that can be very tricky to do at home.

Even if your vet doesn’t identify a serious issue, it might be a good idea to start a tooth brushing routine.

You should always be sure on these things.

Dear PDSA Vet: My three-year-old cat seems to have trouble urinating recently, and sometimes passes blood. She doesn’t really go out much either – do you think there could be something seriously wrong? Steph

Struggling to pass urine and blood in the urine both indicate that something is wrong, and could be making your cat feel very unwell and in pain. I’d recommend that you have her checked over by your vet immediately. Cats can develop urinary issues due to stress, which can cause an inflammation of the bladder lining. You’ll need to look for any causes of stress that may need correcting to prevent this recurring; as she’s not wanting to go outside, she may be feeling intimidated by neighbouring cats for example. If possible, bring a sample of your cat’s urine to the appointment as an additional help to your vet’s examination. For more information on the effects of stress in cats, visit

Dear PDSA Vet: My Bichon Frise keeps scratching his skin and biting at his paw. I recently had him treated for fleas, why might he be doing this? Joanne

Most dogs scratch occasionally, but excessive scratching can indicate something is wrong. Other than fleas, itchy skin could be a symptom of many different conditions, including an allergic reaction to something in your pet’s diet and/or environment. For example, things like pollen, trees, storage mites, dust mites or grass amongst others, can all affect our pets. This could be at certain times of the year, or all year round depending on what your pet is sensitive to. If left untreated, skin conditions can have a serious effect on our pets’ health and quality of life, often causing the skin to become increasingly red or inflamed. I recommend visiting your vet as soon as possible, so they can investigate any potential causes, such as parasites or allergies.