Preparing and caring for the new arrival

Making the decision to own a cat or dog is exciting and also life changing. To ensure the best start, it is important to consider which particular pet characteristics are best suited to the family’s needs, lifestyle and home environment. A good match will mean that the health and welfare needs of the pet can be fully met, and in doing so the family will gain a variety of benefits from the strong and mutual bond that develops.

Responsible sourcing of kittens and puppies

Pet ownership begins with choosing a pet type or breed from a reliable provider. Poor breeding practices can
lead to cats and dogs with a higher prevalence of behavioral problems and health issues, which can have
a significant long-term impact on the quality of the relationship between a pet and its adoptive family. It is therefore critical to take time to understand the options available and, through appropriate research, identify
a reputable source.

Cats and dogs can be acquired from a variety of different sources, including professional or hobby breeders, animal shelters, newspaper adverts, pet shops,pet superstores, friends/neighbors, and increasingly from the internet. New owners often prefer healthy, happy kittens or puppies, but many adult or senior animals, or individuals with special care needs can also make very successful pets. The best establishments give careful consideration to factors such as welfare, well-being, health, disease prevention (including responsible breeding and preventive care for both the parents and offspring), temperament, socialization and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of cats and dogs in responsible homes with well-suited lifestyles.

Unfortunately, establishments that show little regard for the welfare of kittens and puppies and their parents are not uncommon, and these are best avoided.

High-volume commercial breeding facilities, often referred to as ‘puppy mills’ or ‘puppy farms’, produce tens of
thousands of puppies for sale every year and conditions can vary widely. Puppies from high volume breeding facilities are more likely to be sold in pet shops or over the internet. When health and welfare conditions are poor, there is the potential to cause stress, which can impact brain development in young animals, manifesting later in life as abnormal social and fear-related behavior. Poor husbandry practices and failure to apply basic, routine health measures such as immunization and de-worming can adversely affect health. There is also an increased risk of preventable infections such as parvovirus, an often fatal disease.