I’m a vet – here are my SEVEN top tips for anyone who has just got a puppy

  • Veterinary surgeon Ben Simpson-Vernon has given seven top tips to new owners
  • Underestimating your new pet can be a sure fire way to landing higher vet bills

Getting your first pet can be a daunting experience, with questions about how to feed them, groom them, and keep them fit and healthy.

Practicing veterinary surgeon Ben Simpson-Vernon, who goes by Ben The Vet online, has given his key pieces of advice for new puppy owners to help better prepare dog lovers.

Underestimating the difficulties of owning a dog can lead to unexpected financial costs, tiresome upkeep, or health issues for your pooch.

So, what are the vet’s seven top tips for new puppy owners? Read below for the full list. 

Practicing veterinary surgeon Ben Simpson-Vernon has given his seven pieces of advice for new puppy owners to help better prepare dog lovers

Researching what puppy is right for you is crucial, for example, French bulldogs (pictured) are relatively disease prone and will likely incur higher vet fees as a result

 Do your research

Ben’s first tip was to do plenty of research about what breeds will best suit your finances and lifestyle.

If you do not have the time to take your dog on a two hour walk every day, then your should be avoiding more energetic varieties.

He added: ‘Some of the most popular dog breeds can have a much higher risk of health problems than others, particularly flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds like pugs and French bulldogs.’

Responsible breeders should do tests to mitigate some of these possible issues, but nevertheless, choosing a breed that is prone to health problems is likely to cost you more. 

Socialise your puppy

There is a temptation to keep your god wrapped in metaphoric cotton wool when they are young, but Ben revealed that the best thing is to ‘socialise them lots when they’re young.’

He explained that there is a critical ‘socialisation window’ of brain development when a puppy is between three and 12 weeks old, during which you want to get them used to as many new things as possible.

That includes other humans and types of dogs, but also outdoor scenarios and sensations such as the noise of traffic and a vet practice.

Ben added: ‘Puppies that aren’t given varied experiences at this young age are more likely to grow up fearful and anxious.’ 

Consider pet insurance

A bit of a gamble during the cost of living crisis for vet owners will be whether to splash out on pet insurance.

But Ben was clear that it was a worthy investment.

‘Many pet owners that I meet every day simply don’t have access to hundreds or thousands of pounds if their pet falls ill or needs to have some kind of surgery,’ he said.

READ MORE: I’m a vet – here are the five dog breeds I wouldn’t buy and why

‘Pet insurance gives peace of mind should the unexpected happen.’ 

Use a toothbrush

‘Imagine what would happen if you didn’t brush your teeth in years,’ Ben asked, ‘the same thing happens to our dogs.

The TikTok vet’s solution was to introduce a toothbrush as soon as possible.

Similar to socialising your dog with new people and pets, your best chance of getting a dog used to a toothbrush is by first trying while they are a puppy.

Doing this will hopefully reduce the amount of dental work they need in their lifetime.

Get them on a diet

Like toothbrushes, a healthy diet is another thing which your pet should be getting accustomed to.

Ben said: ‘Feeding a puppy an inappropriate diet, particularly a home-cooked one that isn’t balanced can have a negative impact on their bone growth and their general health.

‘Be sure to feed them a properly balanced, complete puppy food, in the right quantities.’ 

Train them young

Another key to capitalising on your puppy’s more malleable, younger brain, is to train them as a youngster.

This will ‘make sure you have an adult dog that is a pleasure to live with.’

‘Obedience classes are a must,’ Ben continued, ‘particularly if you have a large or giant breed dog that could easily turn into an out of control adult.’

While they are young, Ben recommends getting your dog used to a healthy diet, other people, the outdoors and much more

Get them vaccinated

The vet’s final tip was to get in early and protect your dog’s health with vaccinations and other preventative measures.

He encouraged puppy owners to make sure their dog has had their first vaccination by eight weeks of age.

Additionally, new dog owners were encouraged to talk to their vet about parasite protection to prevent things like worms, fleas and ticks.

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