Buying a new pet is an exciting time that the whole family can be involved in. But before you make that plunge take a moment and see what you need to know before you do!
First thing you should do before even deciding on where to buy is to be prepared for the new arrival long before it’s even paid for. Some people will never do this step or think it’s down right silly. In fact, it’s a fun part of the process that can help build your anticipation and excitement!
Make sure you have all necessary items. Here is a simple check list of items you will need before your new fur-baby arrives.
1. Leash / collar.
2. Fun name tag (You can purchase a name tag from several online sites, also at most chain pet stores)!
3. Crate or metal kennel. You will need this for many reasons. Such as vet visits, traveling, potty training for puppies and time out spots when your over excited puppy or kitten is getting into mischief.
4. Grooming tools. Brushes and combs, shampoo’s and anti-flea medications. Make sure when you take your puppy to his first vet visit that you get him on a heartworm preventive. (Your vet can advise you on the proper age/weight for your chosen breed and when it would be best to use products such as flea and heartworm preventive).
5. Pet bed. While some owners love to snuggle and sleep with their pets, sometimes its best for your pet to have his or her own “Spot” to lay down. Cats especially love their own fluffy beds to lounge around in!
6. Toys! A large majority of your new puppy or kitten’s time will be spent playing, the other part eating and sleeping. Make sure you stock up on enough toys to keep little teeth and paws busy, busy, busy!
7. Pee-pads, newspapers or kitty litter/litter box. Of course, right?..Right.
8. Micro-chip. Some breeders sell their puppies and kittens already with a micro-chip in. This procedure can be done easily at your vet’s office. It’s important to have a micro-chip incase your pet gets lost, it will have better chance at finding it’s way home! (Ask your vet or breeder about the Micro-chip for your pet).
After setting up your new pet’s living space in your home you will be ready to start your search for your new friend. Finding a reputable breeder can be a daunting tasks at best. It’s not only a long process but sometimes a disappointing and heartbreaking one too. Hopefully, you already know what type and breed you are looking for! If not, now is the time to decide… do your homework! Research all breeds that interest you. Make certain you know all about the breed of choice before buying… this is a life-time deal. Good or bad… this pet is yours for it’s whole lifetime which could reach anywhere from 7-17 years, sometimes more!
Secondly, you should be prepaid for a myriad of emotions during this journey. Try and calm yourself before you start looking. A good place to start would be at American Kennel Club’s official site or Cat Fanciers Association official site. They have lists of people that have proven in one way or another to be reputable breeders. This however, shouldn’t be your only opinion on that subject… more about that later. After you have used their resorces you could start to look at your chosen breed’s official club sites.
The third step is contacting the breeders. Here is a list of questions you should ask and should be asked of you, by the breeder. The best advice in this section would be, listen to your gut! If you think the person on the other end isn’t being honest about something or you get a weird feeling… let them go and keep looking! Do not settle when it comes to this decision. Be patient contacting a breeder, most times they are busy showing or taking care of their animals. Be sure to leave a message with what exactly it is you want to know. Be honest.
What to ask the breeder:
1. What type of congenital diseases are common in this breed?
Please note that in every breed there is something. Any breeder who tells you there isn’t anything to ever worry about is lying to you. Their lines, their dogs may have no medical issues for generations past, but that does not mean the breed in whole has no known medical issues. You should know this about your breed already, because you have already done research… right?
2. Are your cats/dogs tested or certified against defects? And what steps have you taken to make sure your lines don’t have defects?
Take note of any institutions or tests they gave and be sure to go check it out on the web to be sure it’s an honest answer. Some breeders will even show the test results to you.
3. Do you have the parents on site? What are their personalities like?
Meaning, are both the mother and father (Dam and Sire mean Mother and father for dogs and Queen and Tom are Mother, Father for cats!) living with the breeder. Online, you have to take the word of the breeder on this. Use your gut feelings, if they tell you the breeder is being dishonest and giving to many perfect answers, start looking somewhere else… no one is perfect!
4. What contract or guarantee do you offer?
This is important as this will tell you what you can expect to be held to as long as it’s viable. For instance, some breeders will tell you that they give you a 5 year health guarantee against certain things common in your breed. You might see that in the contract you are responsible for getting your new pet spayed or neutered before receiving any paper work such as a pedigree or registration papers. Contractual or not, altering your pet is important and necessary for their health and happiness!
Another thing you could and should do is research the breeder yourself. Many times there are opinions, reviews and sometimes even complaints about the breeder on the web! Google their kennel or cattery name and see what you find. But if you are satisfied with your choice and feel that this is a trustworthy person, feel free to move forward with your purchase. After finding the breeder you like that fits your needs and expectations you can either pick from their litters available or be put on a waiting list!
The breeder should also ask you questions about your family lifestyle, Yard size, Children in the home, etc. If they don’t bother to ask you anything… You should keep looking as this makes me personally feel like they are only after my wallet.
Never use wire money transfers, money orders or anything else that seems fishy. Most breeders selling online take money via PayPal or another verified company. Again, do research to find out what you need to know here.
Good luck on finding your forever furry friend!