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Put flaky Westie on a better diet; pets corner.

Byline: Scott Miller

Q Why is my Westie covered in dandruff? We wash him weekly and he has regular flea treatments.

A West Highland white terriers are known for having sensitive skin, which can become inflamed and irritated by many things in our environment. Ensure his diet is as good as possible and consider supplementing it with essential fatty acids to improve skin and coat condition. Bathe your dog less, as washing weekly can strip the coat of natural oils which moisturise the skin. If your dog is scratching, it could be an allergic reaction so speak to your vet.

Q Our kitten has a weepy eye oozing yellowish muck. Wiping it away daily doesn't clear it up. Is there anything I can do? A Sounds like your pet has conjunctivitis, possibly caused by a chlamydial infection. It is sometimes linked with cat flu, so if she starts sneezing you may need to go to the vet. If the weepy eye doesn't clear in a few days, a course of topical antibiotics from your vet may be needed.

Q We can't get our naughty dog to behave. She pulls on the lead getting to the park and jumps up at people when there. She is so full of energy and otherwise a friendly sweet wee thing.

A Two words - dog training. Group lessons with a licensed instructor are a brilliant way to train your exuberant dog, tiring them out both physically and mentally. It also helps to see other dogs being trained and sharing concerns with other owners. Start with basic commands in the home - sit, stay and come. Once they have learned these, use treats to help drive home the message on the way to the park and approaching strangers.

Whenever the dog pulls toward the park, use the lead to walk them two steps backward, making them realise it will only take them further away. When doing this, gain his attention so he looks to you for guidance. Get him to sit at your side before you set off again. The first week of this training is especialy hard and you will need lots of patience over the next few months.

Q Our budgie is only six months old but is starting to look old. The bit above his beak is getting larger and looks white and lumpy. He seems to be eating OK but looks worse for wear.

A This could be a mite infestation which causes the cere (the soft tissue surrounding the nostrils) to become hardened and white, looking like coral. It is treated with anti-parasitic topical medications, so visit your vet immediately and hopefully it will return your budgerigar to his youthful best.

Q We are planning to move in a few weeks from Glasgow to the Highlands. The problem is we have two very old cats who I am concerned will find the journey very stressful. Can you give me advice on any way to transport them with minimal amounts of stress.

A Very few cats find car travel enjoyable but all must go through it from time to time. As it is not a regular occurrance like it is for a dog driven to the park for a daily walk, car journeys are not something felines can get used to.

Minimise stress by using a box the cats can stand up in, without it being too large. If they get on well, it is best they travel together. Pad it out with blankets and spray it with Feliway, a pheremone (scent hormone) to help calm nervous cats.

Leave this in your living room for at least a couple of weeks before the move, so your cats have a chance to investigate the box thoroughly and leave some of their scent on the bedding.

On the day of the move, don't give them breakfast as they are likely to vomit. Don't offer food during the journey unless you plan to stop for a six-hour break. Place them in the cage calmly, preferably tail first and lifting the cat up then down and into the box. Cover the box with a dark, breathable material and place them in the back seat, securing it with a seatbelt.

At your new home, pre-place some of the cats used bedding and more Feliway spray in one quiet room, with places to hide and of course food and water so they can settle in their own time. Gradually allow them access to the rest of the house.

Only let them outside after two weeks, then chaperoned for a further two. If your cats are very nervous travellers, your vet may prescribe sedatives.

Unfortunately the vet will likely have to see your cats first, so this may require a short car journey regardless.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 28, 2010
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