Dear PDSA Vet,

I don’t like keeping my cat indoors, however I’m worried the cold temperatures could cause hypothermia. What should I do? Debbie

Dear Debbie,

Sometimes cats prefer to stay indoors during wet or cold weather. For elderly or very young pets it could be best to do so when temperatures plummet. Encourage them to play with some cat-friendly toys to stay active. Cats are usually safe to explore in the cold, but make sure they can access a warmer, sheltered area outside, such as a shed or garage and can get back inside your home if they want to. If your cat chooses to go outside in extreme cold temperatures, short, supervised bursts are best. Look out for excessive shivering, very cold ears and paws, and lethargy, which are all signs of hypothermia. It is important to seek immediate veterinary attention for any pet showing signs of hypothermia.

Dear PDSA Vet,

My Chihuahua, Missy, was recently put to sleep. Although she had been ill for some time, I feel I let her down by making that decision. Jackie

Dear Jackie,

If a pet is in pain, distress or has lost their quality of life then euthanasia (Greek for “gentle death”) can be the right decision to relieve their suffering. Although this is an incredibly sad time, it’s important to remember that these emotions are a natural part of the grieving process. It can be comforting to remember all of the wonderful memories Missy brought into your life in the first place and there are lots of ways you can remember your special friend. Photos and keepsakes can make you feel like your pet is still close. Or you might like to plant something new in their favourite garden spot. For more information about coping with the loss of a pet go to

Dear PDSA Vet,

Our guinea pig has sores on his back and I have been told it could be mites. If so, can I buy anything over the counter? Sian

Dear Sian

Skin problems caused by mites is a common issue in guinea pigs. An infestation can cause intense itchiness, causing the guinea pig to scratch excessively, damaging their skin. Sometimes, these sores may can become infected. Mites can also cause scaling skin and fur loss. The first step would be to take your guinea pig to the vet to work out the cause of the sores, as he will probably need safe and effective medication prescribed by your vet to treat them. The vet will also need to confirm the diagnosis of mites and rule out any other conditions.

Dear PDSA Vet,

Whenever we have visitors my rescue dog, Rascal, barks and won’t let them stroke him, and when they leave he tries to nip their ankles. Can you help? Richard

Dear Richard

Puppys’ brains develop quickly, so it’s essential that they get used to everyday experiences during the first 8 weeks of their life. If Rascal didn’t have positive social experiences at that age, he is more likely to be anxious and wary of others now. Barking and nipping can be motivated by fear, so he may well be scared of these visitors. For now, set up a safe space for Rascal, away from any visitors, so he can hide away and feel safer. Your vet practice will be able to give advice about how to overcome anxiety, or they may suggest referring Rascal to an accredited pet behaviourist. Problems like this can be solved with time, patience and professional help, thereby improving Rascal’s quality of life.