STUART McMorrow answers all your pet health queries
My Chinchilla, Oz, is usually quiet, but occasionally makes a chirping sound. Is there something wrong?
There are many ways that Chinchillas communicate with their owners and other Chinchillas. Teeth chattering can indicate stress. Chinchillas also communicate with a high squeaky sound when they are playing, bored, hungry or thirsty. Teeth grinding is a softer sound, similar to that made when the Chinchilla is eating. It can be a sign of contentment and baby Chinchillas frequently make this noise to attract their mother. I suggest you observe when Oz makes this noise and check if anything could be causing anxiety.
My dog seems to be very lethargic, more than he used to be. Is this something I should worry about?
There could be a number of things. an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, anaemia, heart disease or an underactive thyroid gland or an infection Another common reason for lethargy in pets is when they are overweight. I would suggest you visit your vet.
My hamster Tink tries to bite me when I pick her up, she bit my mum really hard so I’m scared to pick her up now. How can I get her to be friendlier?
It can take time to get a hamster used to being handled . She is most likely biting because she is scared, approach the cage quietly. Wait until she is awake and facing you – if you pick her up while she is sleeping, or suddenly from above, she is more likely to bite. Start by just stroking Tink gently, speaking quietly and offering her a treat, but avoid her head as this can make hamsters nervous. Once she is happy, put the treat in your open palm so she has to climb on your hand to get it. Be patient, and when Tink is happy with this, try gently scooping her up in your open palms.