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Choosing Your New Pet

If you’re offering a home to a new pet you can look forward to a long and rewarding friendship with a loving new companion. However, don’t forget that they will look to you for love, care and attention every day for many years to come.

We’ve put together our top tips to help you choose the right pet and to make sure it goes on to live a long and happy life.

Choose a pet to fit your lifestyle

Most important is to make sure your choice of pet fits your lifestyle. For example, some dogs need lots of exercise which will be great if you love the great outdoors, but not if you live in a small flat in the centre of a busy town. If you have many holidays, how will they be cared for while you are away? Do you spend much of the day out of the house? Do you or your family have allergies? If you are renting, are pets allowed? The good news is that almost no matter what your lifestyle, there will be a pet that is perfect for you.

Can you afford it?

It is important to choose a pet that you can afford. This not only includes the original price of buying your pet – this becomes insignificant when compared to costs throughout their life time. Remember you will need to feed them, provide a suitable home for them and pay vet bills if they fall ill. It may well be wise to obtain pet insurance to cover the cost of any unexpected and expensive vet’s bills.

Do your research

Find out as much as you can about your new pet. Find out what they like to eat, what kind of environment they like to live in, what equipment you’ll need and how to care for them. The RSPCA publish some excellent advice on what you will need to care for your new friend. If you’ve got any questions or want to know what it’s like living with a particular pet day to day, why not ask some of our experienced owners in the Preloved forums.

Don’t buy too young

You should never separate a mammal from its mother while it is too young to feed itself. In the case of cats, dogs, rabbits and most other mammals, they should not be taken until at least 8 weeks after they are born. Again, do your research and find out the best age for your chosen pet.

See them at home

Always try to see your new pet in its home environment and if it is a young animal, with its mother. This will enable you to see the kind of environment the animal was reared in, and avoid breeders who over breed their animals in unsuitable conditions.

In particular, NEVER buy an animal you haven’t seen in the flesh.

Avoid puppy traffickers

If you are buying a puppy, avoid traffickers who bred in large numbers with little concern for their health and general welfare. Fortunately, carrying out 5 simple checks when buying your puppy will help you avoid this despicable trade.

Have they seen the vet lately?

Many animals need regular vaccinations and checkups to ensure they go on to lead happy and healthy lives. These are particularly important in their early years so make sure they have all been done by checking their vaccination card. Some breeds also require special health checks to ensure that they are not suffering from inherited diseases. Again, do your research and find out what’s required for your particular choice of pet.

Consider spaying or neutering your pet

Consider spaying or neutering your new pet. This will not only ensure that you don’t suddenly need to find homes for unplanned litters, it will also improve your pet’s behaviour, health and life expectancy. The RSPCA also recommends neutering and addresses some of the misconceptions surrounding the subject.

Consider a rescue

If you are looking for a pet, please consider visiting a local rescue to see if they have something suitable as you will be helping an animal find a new start in life. Click here to find out more about rescues on Preloved.

Remember, never buy an animal just because you feel sorry for it. If you are concerned about the health or welfare of an animal, please contact the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.

For more great tips on choosing a new pet and how to ensure they enjoy a long and happy life, see the Preloved Animal Welfare page.

Justine Dench

Justine Dench

Creative Editor

Justine Dench is the creative editor for Preloved. Her key personal interests include sustainability, conservation and animal welfare. Justine also has interests in photography, music, gardening and home interiors.