Dear PDSA Vet,

I have a cat named Sox and when I stroke her, her fur falls out. I’m quite concerned there could be a problem. What should I do?


Dear Carole, whenever cats are stroked it is normal for some hairs to come out, but it’s unusual for this to be excessive. Regular grooming with a comb and brush will remove loose hairs, so if she isn’t being groomed regularly enough, your hands may be removing them instead. Long-haired cats should be groomed daily to prevent painful mats and fur balls developing; short-haired cats at least twice a week. Sometimes problems with their teeth and mouths mean they aren’t able to groom themselves either which leads to a poor coat. Fleas are a common cause of fur-loss in cats, so discuss preventive flea control with your vet. It would also be sensible to get Sox’s fur and skin checked by your vet to make sure there isn’t a health problem. Remember, never use a flea treatment intended for dogs or cats, as this can cause fatal poisoning.

Dear PDSA Vet,

I have a nine-year-old cat named Tinkerbell and she’s eating more but has lost weight. What might be wrong? Lucy

Dear Lucy, it sounds like Tinkerbell needs to be checked by the vet, as there can be a number of medical reasons for her losing weight but having an increased appetite. Unfortunately, just feeding her more food won’t fix the problem. She could be suffering from hyperthyroidism, diabetes or even another medical problem. You can look for other symptoms, such as going to the toilet more often, drinking lots, vomiting and tiredness or even over excitability. Your vet will probably want to do blood tests to check what’s going on and will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for Tinkerbell to help her feel better.

Dear PDSA,

My Chihuahua, Toto, is overweight. He is castrated so I’m feeding him a suitable light food for neutered dogs – 75g split into two meals a day and no treats in between. Is this the right amount for him? Les

Dear Les, unfortunately, vets and vet nurses estimated that 46% of the dogs they see in their practice each week are overweight or obese, and this can lead to serious health problems such as arthritis and diabetes. It is great you’re feeding him a special diet for neutered dogs because they need fewer calories after neutering. Energy needs vary between dogs depending on their age, breed and condition, and the amount they need will also depend on the exact composition of the food itself.

Always follow packet feeding guidelines for your dog’s ideal weight when deciding how much food to give, but if you are still unsure, your vet or vet nurse is the best person to advise. They can also give you advice on an exercise plan to help with weight loss. It’s also essential to cut out the treats, as you have been doing. I would recommend taking to your vet for a health-check, to make sure there are no underlying medical problems for the weight gain. PDSA are looking for overweight pets to join their annual Pet Fit Club competition – to find out more visit their website:

Dear PDSA Vet,

My kids’ hamster, Honey, is always escaping from her cage, even though she has lots of toys and things to play with. How can I stop her doing this? Flo

Dear Flo, it is important that any home for a pet is safe and secure – if small pets escape they can be faced with lots of dangers. Sometimes, putting a strong metal clip on the latch to the cage door is necessary. If Honey is chewing her way out she may need a home that is made from more sturdy material. Also, consider why she might be trying to escape – could she be unhappy with her cage and wanting to explore? It should be big, with different levels and places where she can dig and hide. Droppings should be removed daily, and it needs to be cleaned weekly so that it doesn’t become unhygienic and unpleasant for her to stay in. It should also be away from radiators, direct sunlight, draughts, busy or noisy places, TVs and music systems, as these can all be stressful. Try swapping her toys and tubes about each week so there is something new to explore. For more information on keeping hamsters healthy and happy, visit