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Pet Subjects: 'Why does our dog go into a barking frenzy and how can we stop him?'

Pete Wedderburn
Rescue dog Kaleb Credit: Patrick Bolger

Dear Pete

We have a gentle but excitable nine-year-old English pointer who throws himself at the picture window, barking in a frenzy every time anyone comes to the front door. The minute they enter, he wags his tail and is very friendly. Then when they prepare to leave, he starts to bark, again throwing himself at the window as they pass. Why is he doing this and how can we stop him?

C&TD, Devon

Dear C&TD

He has a strong territorial instinct and he’s letting you know that there are potential intruders outside, trying to see them off by barking at them. As soon as they are indoors he recognises them as friends, but when they are outside his protective instincts are restimulated all over again. The easiest way to solve this is to block the visual stimulus, either by keeping him out of the hall area, or obscuring vision through the window (e.g. with a blind). You then need to teach him to respond to a command instead (e.g. “go to your mat”) by repeated training using treats. A professional dog trainer may be needed (apdt.co.uk).

Dear Pete

My cat had a lavatory “accident” on our kitchen floor. As I cleaned it up, I noticed two large worms, like pieces of spaghetti. Are these roundworms? What is the best treatment? Can they be passed on to humans?

JF, Dublin

Dear JF

From the photograph you sent I can see that these are Toxocara cati – the common cat roundworm. They are easy to treat with a cat-wormer tablet or spot-on treatment, but you do need to use the right product. Ask your vet for a broad spectrum wormer that covers roundworm. These can be passed on to humans but this is very rare: read this article for more details: nhs.uk/conditions/toxocariasis. In future, worm your cat regularly every three months, as a routine.

FREE ONLINE PET CARE GUIDES

PetSavers, part of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, has produced a series of online, downloadable guides about pet care. From “My dog does not like other dogs” to “Caring for your elderly pet”, it’s all free of charge at www.petsavers.org.uk/pet-guides

RESCUE PET

Kaleb

Kaleb is a lovely four-year-old lurcher with lots of energy. Contact 020 8950 0177 or visit nawt.org.uk for more information.

Send queries to [email protected] or tweet 
@PeteTheVet. All sick animals should be taken to a vet.

Pet Subjects by Peter Wedderburn is published by Aurum Press (£12.99). To order a copy  visit books.telegraph.co.uk