PDSA Vet Q&As answered by PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing.

Dear PDSA Vet: How do I start brushing my dog’s teeth? His breath really smells! Anna-Nicole

Implementing a regular tooth brushing routine can help to improve your dog’s overall dental hygiene. Use a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste and introduce the activity slowly to help him adjust to having his teeth cleaned. You can get him used to having his mouth touched by gently rubbing a soft cloth along his gums, and then adding some toothpaste to allow him to get used to the smell and taste, before trying a toothbrush. However, if the bad breath continues even after regular brushing, or if his mouth is sore, there may be an underlying health issue, such as an abscess or dental disease. In which case, it's best to contact your vet for a thorough check up. To learn more about dental care in dogs, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/dog-dental-care

Dear PDSA Ve: My three-year-old tabby cat, Boo, keeps sucking the end of his tail. Is this normal? Roisin

Cats sometimes do this for a sense of comfort and security, often when receiving affection or falling asleep. This can be normal, and usually doesn’t cause an issue unless they are making their tail sore or swallowing too much fur. If Boo is damaging his tail, or showing any other signs of a skin condition such as licking, chewing, or biting at his skin due to itchiness I would recommend speaking to your vet for advice.

Dear PDSA Vet: Other than food from the pet shop, what kind of vegetables can I feed my rabbit? Timothy

Rabbits are herbivores, meaning they eat only plant-based foods. If you make any changes to your rabbits’ diet, it’s important to do so slowly to prevent an upset stomach. Your furry friend should ideally have access to an unlimited amount of hay and grass, at least their own body size amount daily. Alongside this, they need One or two tablespoons of rabbit nuggets daily, dependent on their size, and a handful of leafy greens, vegetables, and herbs twice daily. Avoid muesli-style diets as these can encourage selective feeding and an unbalanced diet. Always ensure they have constant access to clean, fresh drinking water. Some bunny-safe vegetables include; celery, rocket, kale, spring greens, and bell peppers. Spinach, broccoli, and cabbage can also be given, but in moderation as they can cause gas. For more information, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/feeding-your-rabbits.

Dear PDSA Vet: I’ve noticed that my German Shephard is drinking a lot more water recently and is urinating very frequently. Could there be something wrong with her? Antonio

These two symptoms often come together as the more a dog drinks, the more they need to wee, and the more they wee, the more they need to drink. There are many possible reasons why this could be happening, so she will need to see a Vet. It can be a sign of a urine or womb infection, diabetes, or liver disease to name a few. Your Vet might start by testing a urine sample or requesting a blood test, and asking you to write down how much your dog is drinking in a 24-hour period, but please do call them.

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk.