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I want advice on buying a pet

Once you’ve decided to buy a pet there are several things that you will want to consider. This can include what type of pet will suit your lifestyle and whether you’re prepared to care for the animal however long it lives.  

Taking on a pet can be a big responsibility with some animals having long life spans, so it’s important that you consider what’s involved in caring for them for instance dogs will need regular walks and smaller animals will need their cages and hutches cleaned regularly. There are also costs involved in owning a pet, these include food and bedding, but you should also be prepared to pay veterinary costs.

Things you should ask the seller;

  • Do they have a licence for selling animals? Pet shops are required to have a licence. Private breeders are also required to have a licence if they breed more than 5 litters a year (may be less in some local authorities).
  • Whether the animal has had all its required vaccinations, and can the seller prove this.
  • Whether the animal have any health issues, this could mean you having to pay costly vet bills and can be upsetting especially if the animal dies shortly after buying.
  • You should ask how old the animal is. Puppies and kittens can’t be sold until at least 8 weeks old.
  • What the animal’s temperament is like, is it timid, friendly, aggressive and is it good with children and other animals.

You should also check that the conditions the animal is being kept in, are clean and well kept. Puppies and kittens should always be seen with their mother, if the mother isn’t present then it’s likely that it the animal was born somewhere else which could be an indication that it has come from a puppy farm or was imported to the UK. Puppies and kittens should be alert and active and have a friendly nature, if they appear to be scared or overly tired then this could indicate that they have been treated poorly or they have a medical condition.

You should be wary of buying animals from someone advertising online, especially cats and dogs as a lot of the time these will be from puppy farms and are more likely to have behavioural issues or serious medical conditions. To do your bit to help stop puppy farming and the cruel treatment of animals that are used for breeding you should look for a registered breeder or consider going to a rescue centre where you can adopt an animal instead. The Kennel Club has a list of registered dog breeders to choose from

If you have any concerns about the welfare of an animal then you can report this to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals SSPCA -

Last updated: 18 July 2019

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