Pet problems

Q I've just bought a new puppy and have been told pet insurance is a waste of money. Is this true?

A Pet insurance allows you to budget for unexpected costs if your dog becomes sick or injured. There is no NHS for animals and the treatment associated with a road accident, for example, can run into thousands of pounds. PDSA recommends getting pet insurance.

Q I know cats and dogs need toys, but is this the case for rabbits? If so, what should I get them?

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A Most pets can get bored if they're not given things to occupy their time. Rabbits need lots of space – a large hutch with a big exercise run is ideal. They should be kept in pairs as they are very social (a neutered male with a neutered female is best) and should be given toys and objects to play with. You can buy rabbit-safe toys from pet shops and you can also create activities for them. They like to dig, so fill a planter with potting compost. Give them cardboard boxes to climb on and hide in. Wrap some food in brown paper from time to time so that they have to work to get it out.

Q My long-haired cat gets very grumpy when I try to groom him. What can I do to make the process a bit easier?

A Long-haired cats should be groomed daily and the best way to make this stress-free is to begin when they are a kitten. Adult cats may dislike being groomed because they have found it painful in the past. Start grooming him gradually and give him healthy treats and praise while you do. Begin by just touching him for a few days and leaving the grooming brush nearby. Then touch him with the brush, rewarding him when he is calm and relaxed. Slowly start moving the brush across him for a few days, again rewarding calm behaviour. By building up slowly, you should eventually be able to groom him normally.

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