A knotty affair

Q: My Maltese has a fine, cottony coat that mats easily. She sometimes yelps when I comb through a knot, even if I’m not tugging very hard. I don’t want to cause her unnecessary pain or discomfort, so how do I know which knots to comb through and which ones to snip off? Also, how can I ensure that her coat doesn’t become “choppy” as I cut off the knots?

Hacking away

Q: My one-year-old male British Shorthair has been coughing frequently for a few weeks. I thought it might have been a hairball, so I gave him some hairball remedy. However, none have come up with his hacking and now it’s happening at least twice a day. Should I bring him to the vet and get tests done? If so, what tests should he undergo?

Bile-churning problem

Q: My vet told me that my four-year-old Miniature Schnauzer is slightly overweight, so she recommended reducing her daily feeding portion by about 15 to 20 percent. Whenever I do, she vomits a yellowish fluid. She’s currently on a mix of grain- and starch-free kibbles and freeze-dried raw dog food and her daily portion is split into two feedings—once in the morning and once at night. How can I manage her weight while ensuring she isn’t so hungry she vomits bile?

Cool cut for kitty

Q: My six-year-old male Persian has an extremely thick coat that needs regular grooming, but he gets very distressed whenever I bring him out of the house. I bought grooming clippers to do it myself, but always “butcher” his coat! Can you share tips on how to trim my cat’s fur?

Mouth management

Q: My nine-year-old Maltese had her teeth scaled three months ago and I’ve been brushing her teeth twice daily with doggy toothpaste and a muslin cloth since. However, some portions of her gum seem inflamed, plaque has built up a little (though less than when I didn’t brush), and she still has foul breath. What else can I do to improve her dental health?

Eye opener

Q: My 14-year-old adopted cat has been with us for two years, and she’s been having a recurrent eye problem ever since we got her. We don’t know her history, so we have no idea howlong she’s had the condition. The discharge is usually clear and sometimes slightly brown. We’ve been to many vets and tried different eye drops, but each time it clears up, it comes back in a matter of weeks. What could be wrong and what other treatments can I consider?

Pug life

Q: I am thinking of getting a Pug, but read online that their short muzzles could cause health issues and shorten their lifespans. Is this true? What are some other health conditions I should be wary of? Any tips to keep my future Pug in optimal health?

Furry cancer fighter

Q: My Golden Retriever was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. The vet advised against chemotherapy, so he is currently on steroids instead. Is there any way I can improve his diet to make it more suitable for his current condition? What are some foods that are particularly good or bad for him? He’s now on a quality grain-free kibble with fish oil as a supplement.

Home improvement

Q: I will be moving from my house (with a yard) to a smaller-sized apartment in a few months and am worried that my two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier will have trouble adjusting. How can I help her cope?

Tap, don't talk!

Q: I think my 13-year-old Maltese is losing his hearing. He doesn’t know when I’m calling him, or respond unless I’m very loud and/or near him. I’m afraid that his safety may be compromised when I bring him out or when there are any hazards nearby that he cannot hear. Can he be trained to understand other cues?

walking woes

Q: About two weeks after my 15-year-old Pomeranian was diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome, he had trouble walking. His hind legs are clumsy and he sometimes crosses them over while walking or drags them around. Can acupuncture improve his gait?

chubby and creaky

Q: Does arthritis affect rabbits? My Netherland Dwarf is turning seven next year and she is on the chubby side! Is she at risk of arthritis?

foul bum

Q: Recently, my sterilised cat’s derriere has been very pungent. I thought he might have gotten some poop on himself, but even after bathing him, he smells. The area where his testicles used to be is a tad swollen. Do cats have anal glands like dogs?

Muzzle movement

I am interested in muzzle training my four-year-old dog, as I’ve heard that it can be useful during vet procedures and emergencies. Is it worth teaching him?

Proper pee

My vet recently found that my Sheltie’s urine has an abnormally high pH. She is on a prescription kibble diet, but the ingredients don’t look very good. Should I switch her back to her regular freeze-dried raw diet?