A pet is a lifetime commitment.
Never buy a pet on impulse. Make sure you have considered:
- Whether you have the time to give your pet the exercise, mental stimulation, training and attention it needs?
- The cost of owning a pet throughout its lifetime. Dogs and cats cost around £500 – £1000 a year to keep and can live for 12-20 years. Rabbits can live between 7-12 years.
- If this is a pet for the children, who will look after the animal when the children leave home?
- Who will look after your pet when you are on holiday or away from your home for a long period of time?
- Could you cope with your pet if your lifestyle were to change? For example if you were to get married, have children, change jobs or move house?
- Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 a pet owner has a legal duty to ensure the welfare of his animal[s]. A pet’s welfare needs include:
o A proper diet
o Somewhere suitable to live
o Any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
o Allowing animals to express normal behaviour
o Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
If you do decide to buy a pet we would always recommend the following:
- Consider contacting your local animal rescue or rehoming centre. There are thousands of healthy, loving animals of all ages throughout the UK who need a home.
- Be sure you are knowledgeable about the pet you are interested in. Your local vet should be able to recommend an expert.
- Go to an advertiser who specialises in the pet of your choice.
- Be prepared to wait, the right pet is worth waiting for.
- In the case of puppies and kittens, insist on seeing the mother with the litter and judge the parents’ health and temperament. Check that the animal you are interested in is interacting with the mother. You should have easy access to the litter and be able to play with them and handle them freely.
- Where appropriate make sure your chosen pet is old enough to leave its mother.
- Check that the facilities are clean, have adequate and appropriate bedding, toys and stimulation and that the animals appear alert and healthy.
- Visit your chosen pet regularly between the time of choosing and collection.
- Try to ensure that all relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit. This could include the pedigree and registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates. If it is unavailable and the paperwork has to be sent on later, get a written commitment to when it will be delivered.
- Ask the advertiser for a written medical history of the animal which might include vaccination and worming.
- Request a written agreement that purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your veterinary surgeon within 72 hours of purchase. Alternatively make enquiries with your local vet to see if he would be willing to attend a viewing to check the pet for any visible health problems before you purchase it.
- If your chosen pet was not born at the place of purchase ask where it came from. If you encounter any problems please contact the publisher.