Pets' corner: Fat cats and clean dogs

Your questions answered by Chamois Rose-Wood
Click to follow
The Independent Online

I got a lovely rescue cat recently but he is obese. What health problems are caused by this condition and what can I do about it? Mary Ray, Birmingham

One of the most common and serious conditions that can be caused by obesity is "fatty liver disease" or hepatic lipidosis, which is life threatening, difficult and expensive to treat. Once you have checked with your vet that your cat hasn't got this problem, you can concentrate on helping him lose weight. Keep a record of his weight and the amount of food you are feeding him. Give him a maximum of two meals a day, for no longer than 20 minutes. When the time is up, take the food away so he cannot snack all day. To increase the chances of your cat losing weight, feed him on dried food - it has less fat.

I've just spent a lot of money having my Labrador's teeth cleaned by the vet. How can I keep his teeth clean? Henry Marks, Wimbledon

To start with, buy a dog toothpaste (usually flavoured) plus toothbrush or tooth pad. Put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and let your dog lick it off. Then progress by rubbing the toothpaste on to your dog's teeth and gums with your finger. After a few sessions, if your dog is comfortable, you can try using the toothbrush. After a few weeks, your dog should have pearly-white gnashers. There is also a variety of special chews just for dogs' dental hygiene. Look out for these at your local pet shop.

Send your queries to The Independent Magazine, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or email