Podcast #13: Picking the perfect puppy: finding healthy pets

Written by Napo HQ
7th Oct 2022
27 mins listen
Searches for “buy a puppy” increased by 115% during the pandemic. Yet many "pandemic puppy" owners didn't even see their puppy before buying them, something today’s guest warns against.
Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon, better known as Ben the Vet, has built up a following of over 100,000 animal lovers on TikTok for sharing his matter-of-fact videos on pet welfare and health topics. Today he joins us to talk about how you can pick a healthy puppy that fits well into your life.
We talk about what to think about to find your perfect puppy, how to minimise the risk of future health issues, and red flags to look out for to avoid unethical breeding.

This episode of The Pet Perspective covers:

  • Considerations to make to find a puppy suited to your lifestyle.
  • How to make sure you pick a healthy puppy.
  • Red flags to help spot unethical breeders.
  • Common puppy parasites and how to prevent them.

Episode highlights

1:50 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“Time is a really important consideration. So you need to think in your ordinary day, have you got time to walk the dog twice a day? Really? Most dogs are going to need walking. Have you got the time to devote to their training, particularly when they're young, socialising them with other dogs, to take them to the vets, to take them if they need to be groomed? A dog is a big time investment.”

4:23 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“It's a really bad idea to pick a dog based on the way it looks. And so a lot of dogs that have more extreme kind of characteristics, and are more exaggerated, they come with a health trade off for those kind of physical characteristics.”

7:10 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“It's a good idea to speak to a vet or a vet nurse just to get a bit of input. A lot of vets would be happy to, and nurses, will be happy to give that kind of advice. Or it’s a good idea to set up a sort of pre-purchase consultation with the vet to discuss some of those things. Yeah, it might cost you £30 or £40, but in the long run that could save you a lot of money in vet bills."

7:10 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“For example, if you decide you really, really want to get a French Bulldog, there is health testing that means it will reduce the risk they'll have for some of their common issues. There is a grading system for some of the breathing issues that they're prone to. Breeders can carry that out on their dogs. If you're thinking of getting a French bulldog, ask if they've been health tested.”

9:48 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“Those sorts of cockapoos and poodle crosses are really popular and they can be lovely dogs. But Poodles and Cockapoos are two of the most sort of energetic, intelligent breeds that there are, and they need a lot of stimulation. And we're certainly starting to see some behavioural issues in some of these dogs where their needs are not being met.”

11:08 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“There's certainly red flags when it comes to breeders if they're asking for saying they can deliver the puppy to you or they won't show you the puppy and the mum together.”

12:37 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“Ideally you should see the puppy a few times and take a bit of time to really make a decision, and certainly not be pressured to make an impulsive kind of decision.”

20:50 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“Most of the time when we tell an owner when the dog comes in for its vaccinations and we say, “he's a little bit overweight” or put it nicely, “he's a bit chunky”, more often than not they are a bit sort of surprised. They didn't think that they're overweight. I think it definitely has been normalised.”

25:17 - Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon

“It's very important to try and socialise them with other dogs and with people. And certainly during the pandemic we were seeing, we still are seeing a lot of dogs that become very anxious around unexpected noises, or around people they don't know, or unfamiliar dogs. So that kind of anxiety is having a real negative effect on them. That's obviously not normal.“

Tell us what you think

If you have a topic you'd like us to discuss in a future episode of the podcast, or if you have any questions for our guests, let us know on Instagram or Facebook

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