Vet Q&A: Dog dentistry | Barking problems

RESIDENT vet Stuart McMorrow answers your questions

My two Jack Russells both really need their teeth cleaned, but it isn’t covered under my insurance and my vet is quoting around £350 to get this done. I really can’t afford this. What can I do?

I would advise discussing this with your vet as sometimes there are alternatives they can offer, such as paying by instalments. You could also check to see if you are eligible for PDSA’s help or possible assistance from other organisations, such as local charities. Visit or call 0800 731 2502

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I have a 12 year-old cat and she’s started wetting and messing in the house. She’s not off her food and still sometimes goes outside and in the litter tray we put out at night for her.

The best thing to do is to get your cat checked out by your vet as there are lots of different reasons why a cat may start soiling in the house. For example, it could be a continence problem or a behavioural one. It is possible that your cat can’t retain her faeces, rather than deliberately soiling your place, because of stress or other behavioural concerns. In addition, conditions like diabetes and bladder infections can cause a pet to urinate more frequently.

My dogs always bark at the door when people knock, which can get very noisy. How do we get them to stop barking?

Some dogs do this to get attention. They learn that when they bark, people will give them attention by looking at them, speaking to them or stroking them. So to stop the problem you need to get everyone to ignore your dogs when they bark. Even when they are barking a lot, people entering the house or answering the door must not talk to, or even look at them. Only when they stop barking should they be greeted. If this is repeated, and followed by everyone, eventually the dogs will learn that barking leads to them being ignored but being calm gets them attention. It can take some time and it may be useful to get in touch with a reputable dog trainer who could help train your dog to become silent on command.