Pet Q and A: Your animal questions answered

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My dog is a three-year-old Alsatian/Rottweiler cross called Ernie. Two months ago he started jumping up on my bed in the night waking me up, I tell him to go to his own bed and he does, but as soon as I’m asleep he does it again, up to 10 times a night. The vet gave him the all clear – how can I stop him doing this?

A Obviously, something is making Ernie anxious or excited at night. It might also be that he sees your attention, when you wake up, as a reward, encouraging him to repeat this behaviour. Try and find out if anything is waking your dog or making him anxious. For example, it could be he is woken by a fox in your garden, or perhaps the hot water boiler coming on. Dogs do have very sensitive hearing – so try and do a bit of detective work.

Q I have a pair of rabbits and they are both itching a lot, plus the male has lost some fur on his back. I think they may have fur mites, what can I do?

A If a pet is itchy that can be due to quite a few different conditions, such as ringworm, fleas, a mite infection, or a bacterial or viral skin infection. Some of these parasites can be very harmful, for instance fleas are involved in the spread of potentially fatal myxomatosis, while ringworm can spread to humans. It’s important that you get your rabbits checked out by your vet.

Q I recently took in a stray elderly cat, Elsa. Whenever she goes to bed she grabs a mouthful of bedding and pads about on her cushion for around 15 minutes. Why does she do this?

A Kneading is often a sign of contentment in an adult cat, a throwback to when kittens would knead their mother when feeding. Cats may find changes to their environment, such as changing home as your new cat has done, difficult to cope with. You first need to get Elsa checked out by your vet to find out if there is an underlying medical cause for her behaviour.

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