DEAR PDSA Vet, I recently had my dog’s hair cut quite short and now her body seems to look very different. How can I tell if she is overweight? Lee

Fur hides a lot! That’s why being “hands on” is important when assessing your pet’s size, to feel what lies beneath their coat. Laying your hands on her sides, you should be able to feel her ribs just below the skin with a gentle touch – she may be overweight if you need to press hard to feel them, but they shouldn’t stand out. Your dog should have a clear waistline - run your hands from the chest to tummy to feel the waist tuck in. It’s also important to know your dog’s weight, so pop her on the scales or take a trip down to your vet for further advice. For more information you can download our free guide at up.

Dear PDSA Vet, sometimes I give my dog some leftover scraps from my dinner, is this okay? Billy 

Just like us humans, a balanced diet is very important in helping your furry friend stay happy and healthy. It can be tempting to give your pup the odd treat from our meals here and there, but it can cause them to put on weight as their portion sizes become less controlled. Being overweight can contribute to many health issues for pets, which is why it’s best to stick to your dog’s pet-friendly diet, with the odd healthy treat in moderation. Some human food can be unsuitable and even toxic, so if you do give your dog any of your dinner, stay safe by only offering steamed vegetables and lean meat, and reduce their meal by 10% to compensate for the odd titbit.

Dear PDSA Vet, Can I let my rabbits run around in snow, or should I keep them inside when the weather is particularly cold? Hannah

Through the colder months, it can be difficult to know whether to keep your rabbits inside or let them out to play. Both indoor and outdoor rabbits can lead happy and healthy lives, as long as they’re running around and being active, have company and a warm shelter. If there is snow on the ground, they still can have access to their run for short periods, but watch closely so they don’t get wet and cold and it’s vital that they have lots of hay to eat. If their hutch is outdoors, it’s important to keep it warm and cosy during the winter months, so make sure they have plenty of fresh, dry hay to snuggle into. You can even drape old carpet over the top at night for some extra insulation.

Dear PDSA Vet, my puppy is becoming really anxious whenever I leave the house, what can I do to keep her calm? Lizzie

It’s great that you’ve recognized that your puppy is getting anxious and it’s important to work on this now, to prevent her anxiety worsening. You will need to go back to basics and help your puppy realise you will always come back so she doesn’t need to worry and becomes used to you leaving her alone. At first, you’ll need to do this by just going into a separate room or garden for a very short time, returning before she gets worried, so she gets used to being apart from you. Build on this, leaving her for a bit longer and you going further afield, always returning before your puppy gets upset. For more tips, visit: and speak to your vet or an accredited behaviourist if she continues to struggle.

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. This winter, your support is vital for poorly pets – find out how you can help us give pets a fighting chance at