Where to Buy a New Pet
Once you have decided on a new pet, and have determined you can afford it and can give it all the care it needs, you need to find a suitable place to purchase the animal. This can be a difficult task – even seasoned pet owners can find it hard to track down an appropriate place to buy a new dog or cat, where the animals are cared for and have had the best start in life.
Finding a Dog at a Shelter
Rescue centres are an ideal place to find a new pet dog, as the centre’s main concern is the welfare of the animal rather than a profit. Adopting from a rescue centre is particularly ideal if you would like to adopt a mongrel dog, or are not fussed by the type of breed you eventually take home. It is true that rescue centres do house many older pets, but puppies are also taken in by shelters regularly. If you decide you would like to adopt a dog, you could start by searching the database of national organisations such as Dog’s Trust or the RSPCA. You could also see if you have any independent adoption centres in your local area. For more information on the dog adoption process, check out our previous blog on the matter here.
Buying a Puppy from a Breeder
The Kennel Club Assured Breeders scheme is a good place to start if you are looking for a pedigree puppy. You could also ask your vet if there are any local breeders they would recommend. Kennel Club assured breeders must microchip their puppies, make use of health screening facilities, provide a record of vaccinations and worming, and draw up a contract at point of sale.
With good dog breeders, you may find there is a waiting list for new puppies. If this is the case, it is important to be patient – a waiting list indicates the breeder is probably of good quality, and a healthy, happy puppy is certainly worth waiting for.
Here are some key things to remember to ensure you take home a happy and healthy puppy from a breeder:
- Check the breeder’s credentials – are they assured and licensed?
- See the puppy with its mother and the rest of the litter, and father, if possible.
- Check the puppy’s paperwork, which should include a vaccination record, a health check report and a Pedigree Certificate if applicable.
- Check that the facilities are clean and the puppy seems alert and healthy.
Channels to Avoid
You should never buy a puppy from a pet shop or a newspaper advert. If you purchase a dog through these channels, there is a strong possibility that the animals were born in a puppy farm. Puppy farm puppies are typically raised without care or love in unsuitable conditions. The dogs are often fed cheap food, are victims of poor breeding, and are separated from their mothers too early. Sadly, puppy mills will continue to exist if people buy dogs from suppliers who use them, so it is important that you use the correct channels (such as rescue centres or assured breeders) when purchasing your new dog.
What About Cats?
You can purchase cats from rescue homes for a small fee. You can often find kittens in these centres between April and November, when there are often new-born abandoned kittens. You could also find a local breeder through cat clubs or your vet, and some advertise locally as well. Be wary of classified ads though, as these are often used by “back yard breeders” who know little about animal care. Kitten farms exist too, so as with purchasing dogs, it is important to ensure that you buy your kitten from a responsible breeder.
The key things when looking for a new pet is to do lots of research, and if you are in any doubt, do not purchase the animal. In addition, if you are concerned about the treatment or condition of any animal you visit, contact your Local Authority or the RSPCA for further advice.