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My pooch has lost his appetite; Ask the vetPDSA VET IAN FLEMING ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS.

Q: My dog Freddie has gone off his food. He has a bowl of dry food in the morning and a bowl of wet in the evening, which he's had since he was a puppy and always enjoyed. Recently he's stopped eating the evening food altogether. Any idea why? He'll be five in December and has no other symptoms. Dylon A: A decrease in eating or an alteration in normal feeding behaviour can be due to a number of reasons, such as bad teeth, a problem with their neck, or even fear or stress, so it's a good idea to get Freddie checked out by your vet. There are some things you can do to whet a pet's appetite but it is important to rule out any medical issues first.

With many pets, it is often best to feed little and often, as large amounts of food may overwhelm any desire to eat. In addition, 'smelly' foods can stimulate a jaded appetite in some types of pets, so perhaps change the diet in the evening. Also think about the dish; some plastics can absorb smells and pets often dislike the smell of metal, so try pottery or china - wide flat saucers or plates are useful. You can try warming the food to about body temperature, to see if Freddie prefers this.

Q: I've just adopted a three-yearold cockatiel, and have been reading up on how to care for her. But I'm not sure about grooming her - do I need to give her regular baths? If so can I use normal soap? April A: Cockatiels need the opportunity to bathe regularly to keep their feathers in good condition, although birds do have a natural way of doing this through their preening gland. The readiness of birds to bathe often varies according to their personality but one option is a type of bath which attaches near to the cage opening. It must be big enough for a cockatiel and the water should be changed after. These baths let your cockatiel bathe in her own time. Another option would be to spray her with tepid water from a plant spray. It is important her living environment doesn't become damp though. Never use soap as this can be harmful to the feathers and skin. The chance to bathe should be offered daily to most caged birds.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2013
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