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from Chiswick Pets



Chiswick Pets

32 - 34 Devonshire Road

0208 747 0715

Finding and choosing a Cat or Dog

cat and dogs in bed

Occasionally, cats and dogs can be found for sale in pet shops.  If this is the case, especially with dogs, you should be very careful if considering buying one.  However, they are many other, often less risky, ways to get a cat or dog.

Both cats and dogs live a long time, and are a major commitment for the whole family, so it is important to research and think carefully whether you have the time to look after one, before deciding if they are the right pet for you.

 

Cats & Kittens

Always - make sure they have had their vaccinations.  Ideally kittens should had had their first set of vaccinations before they are ready to be taken home - if you are told they are too young for their shots, they may be too young to leave their mother!  All the vaccinations should be listed along with the date they were given and details of the vet who gave them. If kittens have not been vaccinated, it is important to get this done as soon as possible. They should also have been treated for worms and fleas - a round, swollen belly can be a sign of worm infestation.  Eyes and ears should be clear and clean with no discharge or unpleasant smells.  If you are buying the cat, make sure to find out who will be responsible for vet's fees if something goes wrong in the first short while

From a Pet Shop - be doubly careful that all the vaccination details are correct, and that the cat/kitten has been given a clean bill of health from a vet - you don't want to get your new pet home only to discover you now need to fork out thousands of pounds in vet's fees!  Shop staff should be happy to answer questions about the kittens, including where they come from, their age, how long they have been at the shop, and the amount of handling they receive.

one of our resident cats, MikaFrom a breeder - If you are looking for a pedigree cat, the Cat Fanciers Association keeps a listing of breeders of each breed.

Noticeboards/Adverts - make sure to see the conditions the cats/kittens have been kept in.  Be suspicious of any advert that promises to bring the cat to you.  Make sure you get the kitten's vaccination card when you pick them up - if the owner doesn't give you one, assume they haven't had any vaccinations and speak to the vet about getting this done as soon as possilbe.

Rescue centres - Rescue centres are one of the best places to find a cat or kitten - its not just older cats who end up there!  Often people will have litters of kittens and hand them into a rescue centre as they don't know what else to do with them.  It is rarely through any fault of their own that an animal ends up at the centre- things such as moving home, financial problems or other changes in circumstances can lead to people having to give up their pets to a rescue centre.  Most rescue centres will ensure that all vaccinations, flea and worm treatments are up to date, and identify any other health or behavioral problems.  Rescue centres don't want to see the animals have to brought back, so they are the most likely to be honest about whether the individual animal will be suitable for you and your family.  Most centres behaviourally asses each animal so they can tell new owners what to expect, and with vast amounts of experience to draw on, can then interview the family and match you up with the ideal pet for your lifestyle.  If you are unsure about your choice of pet, rescue centres are good places to get an expert opinion and suggestions.
Please see the Links page for a list of rescue centres.



Dogs & Puppies

Chiswick Pet's resident dogs!Always - make sure they have had their vaccinations.  Even puppies should had had their first set of vaccinations before they are ready to be taken home - if you are told they are too young for their shots, they are also too young to leave their mother!  All the vaccinations should be listed along with the date they were given and details of the vet who gave them.  Puppies must not be placed on the ground (other than in the house/garden) until their vaccinations are complete. They should also have been treated for worms and fleas - a round, swollen belly can be a sign of worm infestation.  Eyes and ears should be clear and clean with no discharge or unpleasant smells.  If you are buying the dog, make sure to find out who will be responsible for vet's fees if something goes wrong in the first short while.  Always ask to see puppies with their mother, and if possible, their father, as this gives the best idea as to what the dog will be like as an adult, and also lets you judge the temperament of the parents.

From a Pet Shop - Buying a dog from a pet shop is not generally advisable, as often they will have come from a "Puppy Farm" where dogs are mass-bred in unhealthy conditions.  Obviously, this is not the case for every single pet shop, so ask for full details of where the puppies came from.  However, puppies should always be seen with their mother if at all possible, which may be difficult in a pet shop environment.

From a breeder - If you are looking for a pedigree dog, the Kennel Club keeps a register of new puppies.  Contact them for a list of breeders who currently have or are expecting puppies. It is then up to you to contact the breeder yourself.  Remember, just being registered with the Kennel Club, even if the puppy comes with papers, is no guarantee of the health of the puppies or the responsibility of the breeder.  Read up on specific health problems related to the breed in question, and make sure to see the puppies with their mother, and, if possible, father.  A responsible breeder will never offer to bring the puppy to you, they should be happy for you to see the conditions the puppies and mother have been kept in.

Noticeboards/Adverts - make sure to see the conditions the dogs/puppies have been kept in.  Be suspicious of any advert that promises to bring the dog to you

Rescue centres - Rescue centres are one of the best places to find a dog or puppy - its not just older dogs who end up there!  Often people will have litters of puppies and hand them into a rescue centre as they don't know what else to do with them.  Besides, older dogs are generally calmer and easier to handle than puppies, and really appreciate having a second chance.  It is rarely through any fault of their own that an animal ends up at the centre- things such as moving home, financial problems or other changes in circumstances can lead to people having to give up their pets to a rescue centre.  Most rescue centres will ensure that all vaccinations, flea and worm treatments are up to date, and identify any other health or behavioral problems.  Rescue centres don't want to see the animals have to brought back, so they are the most likely to be honest about whether the individual animal will be suitable for you and your family.  Most centres behaviourally asses each animal so they can tell new owners what to expect, and with vast amounts of experience to draw on, can then interview the family and match you up with the ideal pet for your lifestyle.  If you are unsure about your choice of pet or breed, rescue centres are good places to get an expert opinion and suggestions.
Please see the Links page for a list of rescue centres.

Also see - the RSPCA "puppysmart" guide to buying a puppy