Anyone who's ever raised a bouncing puppy will know that these bundles of fluff can get up to all sorts of mischief, whether it's chewing shoes, stealing dry dog food treats or escaping out the back garden.

And although this cheeky behaviour is usually pretty harmless, puppies have the potential to get into trouble and in some cases can end up hurting or even injuring themselves.

Which is why high on the list of priorities when you first bring home your new dog should be taking out comprehensive pet insurance that will cover your young pup in the event that anything does go wrong and you find yourself at the vets.

"Especially in these times of austerity, pet insurance is a must," says Debbie Connolly, founder of SafePets UK (www.safepets.co.uk) and animal behaviourist.

"Some vets do weekly instalment schemes just in case you do ever have an emergency, yet I still see people online with very sick pets complaining they can't afford a vet and people blaming the vet. Your pet is your responsibility."

Although accidents and serious health problems are rare, veterinary bills for any sort of treatment can run into the hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so failing to have adequate cover for your pet could turn out to be extremely costly in the long run.

When taking out an insurance policy, it is also a good idea to ensure than it covers third party liability, as this will protect you against heavy costs if your pup causes damage to property or injury to another person.

The precise level of cover you require for your pet pooch will depend on their age, breed and medical history, so if you're unsure, have a chat with your vet who should be able to advise you.

Finally, remember than pet insurance is important for your dog throughout their life, not just when they're a puppy, so remember to renew your policy every year for peace of mind that your dog is protected.

Written by: Hannah