Last updated on 06/02/2013
Buying an animal on trust!
You all remember seeing that puppy or that kitten looking up at you. It so small and cute, how could you resist? There's the question! By buying it in that pet shop, you might be financing the illegal traffic of animals. Before buying any animal you need to do some research to protect yourself from the unforeseen.
When you promise your kids you'll get them a pet, mind your motivations. Buying an animal isn't done lightely and is often accompanied by unseen consequences.
Although you might fancy a certain type of animal, somme species are endangered and cannot be sold legally. It's possible that the animal you want is too exotic for our climate, proving the importance of research. Generally, more an animal is exotic higher are its chances of being illegal.
You need to consider the implication that come with the purchase of a living thing: no more last minute weekends, you need someone to keep it during the holidays, travelling with a pet is much more complicated, allergies,... Ok, you've thought about and you're still in! Well then the first thing you need to do is decide what kind of pet you want. Here, you'll have to consider how much space you have, how much time you're willing to give it and how much you're willing to spend.
First step - Research
You've chosen the animal, the breed, the colour, the gender ... Then it's time to get started with the research. Everything depends on the kind of animal you want: dog, cat, fish, rabbit, bird, exotic animal,... In any case, the ideal would be to call upon the services of a licensed professional breeder. The prices will be higher but you get more guarantees like no inbreeding which can, for example, cause à lot of health problems for dogs. Your animal will probably already be vaccinated and the breeder will provide you with a European passport. Furthermore, problems with animals from licensed breeders are rarer. You could always answer a private add, but there's always more risks. The private owner is not a professional breeder and your animal might have problems that the owner can't identify. Third solution and the least recommend one, there's always the pet shops. A lot of these shops sell animals illegally. You're animal has probably travelled in a small cardboard box or a plastic bag for days or weeks with no food or water. The person who's selling it to you doesn't know anything about how to take care of it and won't be able to tell you anything about the animal. And odds are the animal is already sick. Of course, I should not generalize! There are some excellent pet shops, but you might still want to check on forums or with clients. In any case, don't buy on the first visit. You need to plan a recon mission. Things you need to check: cleanliness of the place and animals, their living conditions, have a look at the food, and of course, check out the progenitors. Do not trust someone who refuses to show you the parents of the animal.
Second step - Exploration
Before buying, you need to check the dog's health (you've read a book on the subject), the fur/scales/feathers look healthy, the teeth (if any), the bone structure (try to make walk/jump)... if you have any doubts call upon a vet who will come and check out the pet, it will probably cost as much as a house call but it will save you a lot of inconvenience.
Third step - Verification and purchase
Before paying, and after verifying your dog's health and vaccines, make sure that there's some kind of warrantee, you never know. Take a look at the paperwork, passport, certificate or other and if everything pans out, nothing stand between you and your new pet. Although you might be honest, remember that not everyone is : piece of advice, once you chosen the one you want and that you've check everything don't let the pet out of your sight, a less honest person would take advantage of this time to swop the animal with another or a sick animal.
Last step - On your way home
Bring the animal home, but remember that like every human, your new pet will need some time to adapt, even more if its a baby and you need to follow the breeders instructions to the letter. Being so small and fragile you need to be more careful.
In general, people who want a pet tend to choose a young animal, one they could raise themselves. Unfortunately, many animals get abandoned by their owners; the lucky ones get rescued by PETA who tries to find them a new home. So if your looking for a pet, why not stop by one of the many shelters filled with animals in need of love and human warmth. You might find your best friend in one of those cages... Lara Ronayne Casimiro