Dear PDSA Vet, my dog, Rufus, seems to have put weight on over the festive period, but I don’t know how to encourage him to move more – do you have any tips? Nicole

Although it can seem harmless when a furry family member gains weight, it’s really important to nip it in the bud before it gets any worse. The health risks associated with a pooch becoming obese are very serious, including arthritis, cancer and sadly a reduced lifespan.

It’s likely that Rufus has been eating too much and moving less, which can be resolved with some adjustments to his diet and exercise routine, but you’ll have to make it a manageable plan, so you can maintain it.

If you’re struggling to get him back to a healthy weight, contact your vet and they can offer you support. Learn more about keeping your pet at a healthy weight by visiting

Dear PDSA Vet, I’ve noticed that my budgie, Bella, has stopped drinking her water, even though I’ve been changing it regularly. What can I do? Mike

If this is a change to Bella’s drinking habits, I would recommend contacting your vet for advice as it can be a sign of health problems in budgies, especially if you have also noticed any changes in her eating, behaviour or droppings.

As you are doing, make sure her water is changed regularly, several times daily if needed, and her bowl is also cleaned thoroughly. If you’ve been feeding Bella more fresh fruit and vegetables recently, she may be getting extra water from those, so may need less water.

As budgies are social, they need to live with another of their own species. If Bella is currently living alone, try placing a mirror by her water to make her feel like she has company until you are able to find a companion for her.

Dear PDSA Vet, my cat doesn’t want to go outside in the cold but this means he’s moving a lot less and getting restless. How can I help keep him stimulated? Eddie

Firstly don’t worry, many cats are house cats and live a very happy life, you will just need to make some alterations to enrich your cat’s home. Make sure that your cat has plenty of toys and rotate them regularly, holding some back for a while, to help keep things fresh and exciting for him.

Puzzle feeders are great for keeping cats occupied for longer, keeping them active and interested. Create a climbing frame of cat shelves, so they can explore and be adventurous preventing them from getting bored of the same old places. Try hiding treats in high-up places, setting your furry friend the challenge of finding them.

Dear PDSA Vet, I can tell that my guinea pig isn’t sleeping very well but I’ve moved him and made sure he’s being kept in a warmer place. What can I do? Ella

It is important that smaller pets are protected in the colder months, so it’s good to hear that you’ve moved your furry friend somewhere cosier. A common culprit of disrupting a good night’s sleep in smaller pets is inadequate bedding. Make sure you spot clean daily, removing any bedding that is wet or soiled. Make sure that you provide lots of bedding so that it’s deep, so your guinea pig can burrow down. Guinea pigs are also social animals and need another guinea pig for warmth and reassurance. If you’re worried speak to your vet and for more information on guinea pig bonding please visit

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