PDSA advice on buying a new pet

Most pet owners understand that taking on a new kitten or puppy is a lot of work, but what people may not realise is that being a responsible pet owner actually begins before you even make the decision to get one.

It is very important to make sure you research your possible new pet’s needs before making the decision to offer a home to one. For more information on this visit www.your-right-pet.org.uk or www.puppycontract.org.uk.

When you feel you are ready to become a responsible pet owner, use these tips, from leading vet charity PDSA, to help when you are getting a new furry friend.

Make sure you get your kitten or puppy from a reputable re-homing centre or respected breeder where you are able to see the offspring with their mother.

Avoid buying your new pet from pet shops, internet or newspaper adverts or puppy farms as this can make it very difficult to assess the pet’s health and it’s best to think carefully about anywhere that advertises more than one breed. Avoid anywhere that you have doubts about.

If you are new to owning a pet, it’s a good idea to take someone you feel is knowledgeable about kittens and puppies when you visit the place you’re thinking of getting your pet from.

Make sure you check that the kitten or puppy has been raised in an hygienic environment and has been exposed to everyday sights and sounds, such as the TV. This will help ensure the pet is used to the hustle and bustle of everyday life does not grow up to be afraid of these things.

Make sure your new pet stays with their mother until a suitable age. This will vary according to the type of pet, but a reputable breeder would only allow puppies to leave their mother when they were at least 8 weeks old – some breeders prefer to wait until 12 weeks old. Kittens usually part from their mothers when they’re also about 8 to 12 weeks of age.;

Ask to be given a record of the vaccinations, worming and flea treatments your new pet has already received. Book an appointment with your own vet as soon as you can to discuss keeping up-to-date with these important treatments, as well as microchipping, neutering and other future health considerations.

Stock up with things you’ll need once you’ve chosen your new companion – a comfortable bed, food and water bowls, appropriate food, litter tray and cat litter for cats, and poo bags for dogs.

Coming to a new home can be a stressful experience, so make sure you have a quiet, comfortable area set up away from any hustle and bustle so your new pet can retire to this when they become tired