We recently bought a four-year-old Norfolk terrier from a breeder where the dogs were housed separately from humans, and were never part of a “family”. We are having to train him from the beginning, and what saddens us is his complete lack of the concept of fun or play. Squeaky toys or balls are completely ignored. Will this come with time, or should we just accept that he’ll be like this forever?
CB, Bingham, Notts
The changes in this dog’s circumstances are immense, and although he may seem fine, the process of adapting to an entirely new social and physical environment is very stressful for him. Animals only play when they feel relaxed and stress-free. Consider fostering a dog to help him along, as he’s more used to dogs than people. If another dog plays with squeaky toy or a ball, he may learn the joy that way. Most terriers will enjoy a squeaky toy as their instincts kick in, but he may be afraid of them at first.
My husband is trying to give up smoking for Stoptober, but I know that he’s finding it difficult. He adores our two 10-year-old cats, and it might help him if he realises that his smoking can harm them. Is there evidence that pets are affected by passive smoking?
Research has shown cats that live with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, and dogs that live with smokers are 60 per cent more likely to develop lung cancer. Asthma in cats is a real health risk. Pets are more susceptible than humans to the effects of passive smoking because they live closer to the surface of carpets and furnishings, where chemicals from smoking accumulate. A recent survey by More Than pet insurance found that smokers expose their pets to an average of nine cigarettes in their home each day, which is 3,285 cigarettes each year. Your cats will have healthier, longer lives if he successfully gives up for good, as will you!
Battersea – still rescuing dogs and cats after all these years
Battersea welcomed its first stray dog in 1860. More than three million animals later, the shelter is still working hard to rescue dogs and cats. Its latest campaign encourages animal lovers to always think “rescue first” when looking for a new pet, even if that might mean waiting a little longer to find the perfect match. Watch the #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed video at battersea.org.uk
Ada is a sweet four-year-old greyhound who has a happy and playful personality. Contact Margaret Green Animal Rescue in Dorset on 01929 471340.
Send queries to email@example.com or tweet @PeteTheVet. All sick animals should be taken to a vet.