Pet dogs and cats can be with us for the best part of two decades, so it’s worth spending time getting the decision right and making sure you’re ready for the commitment. The following should give you an idea of how to go about the process and remember your veterinary practice is always there to help. A lot of people think that the first visit to the vet is with your eight week old adorable kitten or puppy for its first check-up. However, your veterinary practice would love you to talk to them much earlier than that, at the earliest stage when you are thinking about what sort of pet to get.
There are many types of pet to consider, all have their merits and pitfalls. Cats and dogs have different attributes and requirements, but neither are necessarily easier or less work.
Look at your own situation and be realistic about:
- Why you want a pet, and
- What you can offer your pet.
Answer the following questions to yourself:
- How old are you?
- Do you live alone or have a big noisy family?
- Where do you live? Do you have a garden or live in a top storey flat? Is your property owned by you or rented?
- Do you have other pets that the new pet will have to fit in with?
- Do you work? If so are you out all day and will the pet be on its own?
- What is your lifestyle? Do you want a pet to run a half marathon with you or a pet that sits on your lap and watches TV?
By thinking about these questions, you can begin to build a picture of what type of pet will be ideal.
Now think about the following choices of pet:
- Puppy or kitten
- Adult dog or cat from national/ local rescue centre.
- Adult pre-loved dog or cat from random source or online
- Mixed breed or pedigree
Try to make your decision based on facts and what your head tells you, not just your heart! Talk to your veterinary practice if you are unsure.
Socialisation is an important part that will affect how your potential puppy or kitten grows up. Therefore it is essential to be prepared with the knowledge on how to socialise your new pet from the outset. Speak to your veterinary practice who can discuss with you in detail about top tips on the best way to socialise and habituate your new puppy or kitten.
Finding your perfect companion
Now you are aware of all the pitfalls, it’s time for some advice on actually finding your perfect companion!
- Locate a reputable breeder or visit a reputable rescue organisation
- Ask to meet mum, and if possible dad
- Spend time with the litter as early as you are allowed. Watch them play and how they interact
- Look for a litter where all the individuals are outgoing and confident
- Observe the surroundings at the premises. The more going on the better. Observe how they react to different noise and sounds you make
- Check out owners of previous litters and see how well adjusted they are
- Handle them and see how they react to strange people
- Once you have selected an individual, arrange to visit it as much as possible prior to collection so you can build up a relationship.
Choosing a new puppy or kitten is a very exciting time and we look forward to meeting your new bundle of fluff at one of our veterinary practices!