Is your house one of the lucky ones to have gained a new pet this year? We have heard lots of stories of new cats and dogs finding homes as we battled the lockdown this year.

Becoming a pet owner is both very rewarding but also carries a big responsibility.

So we asked South London vet, Dr Rory Cowlam, for some top tips.

Rory appears on CBBC’s The Pet Factor as well as being resident vet on Blue Peter. Rory is also an ambassador for the RSPCA, StreetVet and works closely with The Dog’s Trust.

Struggles with dyslexia

Rory has recently become a bestselling author on Amazon with Secret Life of a Vet. In the book he discusses his struggles with dyslexia and how he had difficulty learning in the conventional way.

“You need to learn how to use your amazing brain in the way it knows how. As soon as you crack how you learn and how you understand certain things (and it
may be a bit odd!) then you will be brilliant. Dyslexia is a superpower, I promise.”

TOP TIPS FOR LOOKING AFTER YOUR DOG:

1. Diet is super important

Feeding your dog can be a little bit of a minefield. Check the back of the packet of the food you’re feeding. If it’s a list of things that you can’t identify then it’s probably not that great! Look for a decent meat content at around 50% or higher!

2. Exercise

You have to be careful not to do too much too quickly, and each dog is different with their exercise requirements. Research the breed of dog you have and work out what you should be doing per day. You need to be careful with puppies as you can easily over exercise them! Why not look at getting a dog activity monitor to keep on top of this?

3. Avoid separation anxiety!

It is so easy over lockdown to spend every waking minute with your dog or puppy. Make sure you get them used to being on their own. Short periods of time
at first and then building up.

4. Vet checks.

Try and keep your dog excited about going to the vet with treats and keep up to date with all the necessary vaccinations, flea and worming treatments.

5. Socialisation.

It is so easy over lockdown to spend every waking minute with your dog or puppy. Make sure you get them used to being on their own. Short periods of time at first and then building up.