Pet Tips

Where to buy cats and dogs – Pet tip 152

Choosing to bring a new dog or cat into your home is a big decision. It is likely only after months of planning and careful consideration that you will feel ready to finally pick up your new pet. Where you go on this exciting day is entirely up to you. Many people choose to simply visit their neighbourhood pet store. Others visit their local animal shelter, while still others opt for purebred animals from specific breeders.

Each of these options can be as valid as the next; the most important thing is that you are comfortable with your decision and as informed as possible as to what exactly you’re getting into.

Pet stores are one of the most common places people get their pets from. While many of the puppies and kittens in these stores are perfectly healthy and come from reputable sources, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, many pet stores actually increase their profits by getting their animals from ‘puppy mills’, and in some cases, by providing less than adequate care for the animals they have in the store. As with anything then, it is important to do your research. Pay attention to how you see animals being treated while you are in the store. Talk to the staff members and the manager if you can. Most importantly, always, always, always make sure that the pet store has a health guarantee on their animals. All of their puppies and kittens should be receiving regular veterinary care and routine vaccines long before you take them home. Be careful not to fall into the trap of impulsively purchasing a sick animal from a pet store in hope of ‘rescuing’ them. If you are truly concerned about the welfare of animals in a store, you are better off reporting this to authorities rather than supporting this treatment by purchasing a pet from them.

Alternatively, your local animal shelter is a cause you might feel better about supporting. Whether you’re looking for a puppy or kitten, or interested in giving an older animal a second chance, the Humane Society or SPCA in your area might be the best place to look. Shelters are a great option if you want to spend some time getting to know an animal before you bring them home. Not only will many shelters let you spend time with their animals, but many also have staff members who can tell you a lot about the personality and temperament of each one. A reputable shelter will have a screening program in place so you can assure that the pet you get is not unsafe or overly aggressive. Also, as a bonus, almost all shelters will spay or neuter their animals prior to adoption. This, in addition to low adoption fees, makes shelters the most affordable option for many people.

Finally, if you have a specific breed of cat or dog in mind, a breeder might be the best option for you, though there are shelters and rescues that deal with only specific breeds. In terms of breeders though, you can often find the best breeders by asking your veterinarian or other people you trust for their recommendations. Make sure you take the time to visit your breeder so you can examine first-hand the conditions your pet is being raised in, and also so you can meet the parents of your pet if possible. One of the benefits of going to a breeder is knowing your pet’s background and what you might expect from them as they grow up. Of course, you should also be aware of some of the recognized problems in purebred animals, and do your research on any health issues that are known to be common in your breed of pet.

Whatever your choice, the bottom line is to always do your research. If you are looking to get a young and healthy puppy or kitten, then that is what you should be bringing home. If you are interested in helping out an older animal, you should be fully informed about any and all of their problems in advance. Ultimately, the best home for any pet is one that is prepared to have them.

By Alison Norwich – writer

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