Thinking of buying a pet?
Updated: Jan 13, 2022
Welcoming a new pet into your home is a very exciting time but we need to remember that taking on any pet is a big commitment. The most important aspect of owning a pet is to ensure that their health and welfare needs are being met. The animal welfare act ensures that pet owners have a legal obligation to meet these needs which are based on the five freedoms:
1.Freedom from hunger and thirst
2.Freedom from discomfort
3.Freedom from pain injury and disease
4.Freedom to express normal behaviour
5.Freedom from fear and distress
You will need to ensure that you can meet your chosen pet's freedoms for their entire life before bringing your pet home.
For more information please see:
The PDSA has created this handy guide to help match your lifestyle with a suitable companion: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/choosing-a-pet
Once you have chosen what pet would suit you and your family best, it's time to research where to get your pet from and prepare for their arrival.
Buying a puppy or getting a rescue dog
All dog breeds have different care requirements. Try to avoid getting a particular breed just because you have seen it in the media. Advertising companies will choose animals with a certain look just to sell products and would not consider the individual animal's care or welfare implications.
The Kennel Club website is a great resource if you are hoping to buy or rescue a specific breed to ensure you can meet their needs:
The Kennel Club also has excellent general advice about buying a dog: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/getting-a-dog-or-puppy/
At Penbode Vets we would encourage you to consider rehoming one of the many dogs currently waiting for their forever homes in rescue centres:
If you were looking to buy a puppy, then the Dogs Trust website is also an excellent resource to help you find a responsible breeder and ensure you ask the right questions: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/buyer-advice/
The RSPCA is a great source of information about caring for your dog... https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs
... and we encourage all new puppy owners to sign up to The Puppy Program by Adaptil:
You will get regular puppy advice, by email, relevant to your puppy’s age and information about the all-important socialisation process. Remember the key principles of good socialisation:
1. In order for socialisation not to have a detrimental effect on the puppy, experiences need to be positive.
2. Don't overwhelm your puppy with too much at once.
3. Allow your puppy to have 16-20 hours of sleep per day, rest is vital for learning.
4. A lot of focus seems to be on puppy-puppy play during socialisation (probably because it's super cute) but do remember that puppies participating in puppy-puppy, or puppy-adolescent play may not learn much about how to interact politely or appropriately with other dogs. So be sure to set up plenty of play dates with sensible adult dogs, so they can learn these key skills.
Buying or rescuing a cat or kitten
The icatcare website is an excellent resource for all things cat related: https://icatcare.org/advice/thinking-of-getting-a-cat/
And the RSPCA can also help you get started:
It is also a great idea to download the kitten checklist from icatcare which will guide you through the checks to make when looking for a kitten: https://icatcare.org/app/uploads/2019/09/The-Kitten-Checklist.pdf
Remember the 5 pillars of feline environmental needs:
Pillar 1: Provide safe, raised resting places
Pillar 2: Provide multiple and separated key environmental resources: food, water, toileting areas, scratching areas, play areas, and resting or sleeping areas.
Pillar 3: Provide opportunity for play and predatory behaviour.
Pillar 4: Provide positive, consistent and predictable human-cat social interaction.
Pillar 5: Provide an environment that respects the importance of a cat's sense of smell.
For more information on creating the right environment for your cat then check out. https://icatcare.org/advice/making-your-home-cat-friendly/
Dog or cat not for you?
Rabbits, rodents and exotic pets also have their own specific care needs. It is important to research the species you choose. The following links should help you make a start in learning how to care for these other species:
At Penbode Vets we offer complimentary checks for new pets, so please book an appointment with us for a full health check with the vet.
If you have a puppy, kitten or rabbit you will probably need to come in for vaccinations. You can find information on vaccinations at the link below:
Creating positive associations with the vets
Creating a positive experience at these vet visits is important. To help your cat form positive associations with the car journey, the carrier and with certain veterinary procedures take a look at the videos here which can provide you with helpful information in order to prepare them for visits to the vet.
Still have questions? Contact the surgery for further advice and one of our team will be happy to assist you.