There are so many places to get a pet – from finding one, to getting one from the shelter, to ordering one over the internet. Owners should be aware of the possible pitfalls of getting a pet from the wrong source so that they can make an informed decision when looking for a companion.
There are many cats and dogs roaming the streets. As a kid, we got all four dogs and two cats from friends or as neighborhood strays. If you find an animal and want to keep him, first take him to a veterinarian to check for a microchip to be sure he doesn’t already have an owner! Then you can have him vaccinated, checked for any problems, and neutered.
Shelters are good places to find pets. There are so many homeless animals that are in need of love. Be sure to have your new rescue checked by a veterinarian and spayed or neutered as soon as you can. You want to make sure there aren’t any health problems that need tending to or any litters that will need homes. And you can give yourself a pat on the back for saving your pet from an unknown future. Some pet stores even have partnerships with local shelters to adopt out rescues.
Responsible breeders are hard to find. If you are looking for a purebred dog or cat and can’t find one at a shelter (they are often found there!), you should do your research. If a breeder won’t let you visit the facility, that should put up a big red flag. The pets’ living conditions shouldn’t be something they’re embarrassed to show to potential clients. They should also be eager to meet you to be sure that their puppy is going to a loving home.
Puppy mills are an all-too-common source for dogs. These breeders keep mother dogs in cramped cages and unsanitary conditions. The puppies suffer from a wide range of problems due to overbreeding, including heart disease, eye problems, respiratory disorders, parvo, kennel cough, intestinal parasites, and many others. Online companies who sell puppies are often these types of operations. Some of their dogs may look fine at first, but can develop serious health problems down the road. Make sure that if you are purchasing a puppy you find a responsible breeder, or you may end up with nothing but heartache. Some pet stores also get their puppies from mills, so be sure they are rescues if you get one from a shop. There is usually a fee to cover the cost of veterinary care and spay or neuter, but it is worth it not to pay a premium price for a dog that will suffer from the breeder’s poor practices.
You want a dog or cat that will be healthy and happy. Keep her updated on her doctor exams and vaccinate her against illness. If you can be sure where your new best friend comes from, that can give you insight into what you can expect later in life. And if you can, adopt!