Our four-year-old black labrador, Parker, regularly sings or rather, he howls. It started with the national anthem as a puppy, but his tastes have changed. Now we get the Poldark theme and Billy Joel. Is he distressed? And is this common?
Howling is just one of the ways that dogs communicate with other members of their pack: the sound can travel further than barking, and certainly to the human ear, it can be more expressive. Watch his body language as he howls: as long as he shows no signs of anxiety or stress (such as trembling or trying to leave the room), then it’s more likely he is enjoying himself rather than feeling unhappy. Only a small proportion of dogs howl like this; perhaps it’s similar to the way that only a few humans have a natural inclination to singing in public.
Our one-year-old rabbit, Coco, had started to bite electrical wires. We’ve moved these out of his range now, but I worry that now his nails and teeth will grow too long because he isn’t using them. Will we need to get them trimmed?
Rabbits’ nails and teeth only need to be trimmed if they become overgrown, so your aim should be to prevent this. Rather than potentially dangerous objects to chew on, you should offer him plenty of hay to keep his teeth in good condition, and encourage exercise to keep his nails short. Ideally, get him a friend: rabbits are social creatures who enjoy playing with their own species. A once-yearly visit to your vet (for routine vaccinations) will be a useful time for routine checking of teeth and nails.
UNDERSTANDING MORE ABOUT CATS AND DOGS
The Bluffer’s Guides aim to provide instant expert status with minimal effort: the new Bluffer’s Guide to Cats (£6.99, Haynes Publishing) written by cat guru Vicky Halls, is full of fun, feline tips that all cat owners should know. A Guide to Dogs is also available.
Leda is a beautiful, long-haired, two-year-old female cat. Contact The Cat & Rabbit Rescue Centre (crrc.co.uk) on 01243 641409 for more details.
To view the outcomes of rescued pets featured in this column, see petethevet.com/rescues.