Pet Questions

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Stuart McMorrow solves your pet problems

Q. I’ve heard some species of fish can change sex if the group they live in is all one gender. I have two male goldfish, could one of them change sex so they can breed?

AIn some types of fish ‘hermaphroditism’, where one sex can change into another, is relatively frequent. For example, clownfish live in groups where a large female is ‘in charge’ of a group of fertile and non-fertile males. If she is removed from the group, one male will turn into a female and they can breed. But don’t worry, goldfish aren’t these types of fish.

Q. My friend has just got a Husky puppy, but she has been told it needs only five minutes walking for every month of its age. I’m not sure this is true though – what is the correct advice?

aPuppies have to be exercised carefully, as the amount of exercise they need will vary as they grow and their physique changes. Huskies are a very active breed and an adult dog may require up to two hours of exercise every day. This should be split between at least two walks. However, larger breeds of dogs don’t reach their full size until they are at least 18 months old, so until this age they should be given exercise appropriate to their needs. Under six months of age, exercise on hard surfaces should be kept at a minimum, and suitable types include running and playing on grass, including time off the lead. Avoid jumping games or very rough play until they are older, and allow them to rest as soon as they have had enough.

Q. My hamster’s skin seems to be really itchy and in some places his fur has fallen out. Why is this?

aYou need to take your hamster to your vet as there are quite a few conditions that can cause these symptoms. Infectious skin conditions like ringworm and skin mites can cause itchiness and hair loss, as can allergies to a certain kind of bedding or to food. A reaction to fleas from other pets and infections after skin injuries can also cause skin problems.