The PDSA vet answers all your queries from making sure human food is safe for a pet, whether to allow your pet a litter and more.

Dear PDSA Vet

I sometimes give my dog a few scraps from our Sunday roast, but I’ve heard onion and garlic can be bad for dogs. Is this true? Bryony

Dear Bryony, onion and garlic can be poisonous to dogs even once cooked. Stuffing and gravy frequently contain onions, so definitely avoid these; gravy is usually high in fat and salt too, both of which can make your dog very poorly. Other human foods that can be toxic to pets include chocolate, grapes, currants and sultanas. A bit of lean meat and steamed vegetables (no sauces!) from your roast as an occasional treat would be fine. Try not to get into the habit of feeding treats too often though and make sure they don’t make up more than 10% of their daily food allowance, otherwise your dog will start gaining weight. Extra walks, fuss and attention are healthier ways to show our pets how much we love them.

Dear PDSA Vet

Should I let my cat have a litter before spaying? Koby

Dear Koby, it’s a myth that pets should have a litter before neutering, there are no proven benefits to this. Neutering has many health benefits, which include stopping the chance of developing cancer of the ovaries or womb, as well as pyometra – a potentially deadly womb infection. Neutering can also calm the urge to roam in order to look for a mate, not only reducing the chance of picking up infectious diseases though sexual activity and fighting, but also reducing the risk of straying onto roads and getting involved in road traffic accidents. It also prevents adding to the thousands of cats already in need of loving homes. I’d recommend getting cats neutered at four months old, but speak to your vet about what’s best for your cat.

Dear PDSA Vet

My guinea pig has problems going to the loo – sometimes she doesn’t poo for days and then it comes out in one big lump. I’m not sure what to do to help her, what can you advise? Frida

Dear Frida, guinea pigs should regularly pass well-formed faeces, and not doing so can be a sign of a problem. Contact your vet to check if there are any medical causes. Another possibility is her diet – guinea pigs need plenty of fresh grass and good quality hay (separate from their bedding). This should be available for them at all times, along with guinea pig nuggets and a teacup of fresh greens and guinea pig friendly veggies each day. Make sure she has constant access to fresh clean water too – change this at least daily, more regularly if needed. Check out our website for more advice

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment.