The right way to go about buying a pet
Congratulations! You’ve decided to buy a pet; let’s say a puppy. You’ll be joining the 50 per cent of Australian families that own a pet. It’s a rather exciting decision, but one that many people don’t take seriously enough.
Before you forge ahead and welcome the little bundle of joy into your home, ask yourself:
How much am I prepared to spend?
What is the upkeep of my pet going to cost – micro chipping, desexing, vaccination, obedience training, pet insurance, food, holiday boarding and other incidentals?
Do I have enough time and energy to exercise my dog?
Is my home suitable for a pet? What about future plans? (A pet is not just for a month or a year).
What kind of dog or cat do I want?
What should I look for in a breeder?
Choosing a dog or cat
Obviously you need to ‘tailor’ your choice to suit your home and family. Good sense must prevail. For instance, even though you may long for a big dog like you had when you were a kid, it would be selfish and inconsiderate to have a large highly active dog in a small space. So make a sensible choice, based on the well-being of your pet.
A good breeder will question you on your living conditions and offer ongoing advice and support. It’s advisable to go to the breeder personally, so that you can inspect the breeding premises. Internet purchases offer less certainty about the conditions and quality of the breeder and rely more on luck than evidence.
Things to know about ‘designer dogs’
The popular new ‘breeds’ like cavoodle, spoodle, labradoodle and so on are not considered breeds. They are the result of crossing two pure breeds and producing a dog for particular qualities – appearance, low maintenance (minimum shedding) and temperament. However, because genetics are very complex, the dog may not necessarily turn out exactly to formula. The other point to note is that because these dogs are not considered a breed as such, they are not registered with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and the breeders do not have to be scrutinised under the ANKC) rules. So make sure you choose a reputable breeder.
Rescuing a dog
Saving a dog from euthanasia is a compassionate and rewarding act. There are so many animals that are discarded by owners for many reasons – moving, the arrival of a baby, divorce…all sorts of changed conditions can cause an owner to abandon a pet. These pets (cats and dogs) deserve a good home.
From your point of view they cost far less than buying one from a breeder and if you go to a reputable organisation like RSPCA, Animal Welfare or DoggieRescue as they will ensure that the pet is desexed, vaccinated microchipped and dewormed and checked for behavioural problems.
Pet health insurance for your dog or cat
Pet insurance can save you huge, unexpected costs. It is best taken out when you buy the puppy and should be considered a set-up cost like vaccination etc. Like all insurance, pet insurance gives you peace of mind and if you never have to claim that’s the best outcome. But if your pet meets with an accident or develops a serious illness, you could be up for thousands of dollars in vet fees.
Contributed by Marcelle Grolman