Choosing the right pet

christmas-puppy-diane-diederichHave you ever booked an appointment with your vet without taking your pet? This may sound a bit odd to some of you, but I can not recommend it highly enough to anyone who is considering purchasing a new pet for their family.Our Vet’s offer an in-depth pre-purchasing counselling session where prospective new pet owners can be professionally advised on many areas such as:
• How much exercise will my dog need?
• Is the breed we chose suitable to our situation?
• How often will my pet need to be groomed?
• Will my pet need to be house trained?
• Is my pet good with children, or other pets?
• Will my dog need obedience training?
• Are there any underlying medical conditions that will require treatment

It is also important to consider the demands of having a puppy or younger pet around the house compared to those of
an older dog. By four years of age, dogs have their personality established and if they are friendly with kids or other
animals at this age, they are likely to remain that way throughout their life.

Older pets can be obtained from rescue shelters. Often their staff are a great resource when it comes to assessing a
particular animal’s disposition. Even if a dog or a cat comes in with no history, the rescue carers looking after them are
usually pretty good at giving an accurate depiction of that animal’s personality. This is often a huge advantage over
getting them from the paper or pet shops. The advantages are multiple, as they are already desexed, vaccinated,
microchipped and already come with a behaviour assessment.

If you don’t want to get your new pet from a rescue shelter, then please keep the following in mind.

Seek out a “real” breeder, someone who is breeding pets professionally, understands about their possible medical
conditions and has tried to breed them out by selective breeding. They are usually registered with the canine council.
For example, a reputable Labrador or Golden Retriever breeder would have hip scored all parents before breeding on
with them ensuring that hip dysplasia will be an unlikely event in the offspring. It is nearly sickening to see the huge rate
of puppies coming through our vet centre with hip dysplasia, owners just not having done any research before acquiring
their pet and later costing thousands of dollars having hip replacements done with a specialist. A “real” breeder will also
have vaccinated, vet checked and microchipped the puppy or kitten, which is a legal responsibility in Victoria and NSW.  A fine of approximately $165 per pup/kitten applies if sold without a microchip.

Understand that vet checking purely means that on the day the vet checked the puppy it appeared healthy, it does not
guarantee that it won’t come down with an illness days to weeks later. At the time heart murmurs can be detected, any
hernias present would have been noted, but the veterinarian still relies on the breeder to pass this information on to the
new owners.

We are usually not big fans of pet shops selling puppies as they are usually overpriced, don’t come from reputable breeders,
are not desexed, are sometimes traumatised if they have stayed there for many weeks and often encourage impulse
buying.

Each year millions of pets enter shelters because their owners may have not been realistic about their companion’s
needs. A pre-purchase consultation with a veterinarian can help ensure that whether you adopt a Bernese mountain
dog or a Ragdoll cat, you’ll be off to a good start.