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Tips to help you find / buy your new pet

Be prepared to wait to find the right pet. Some of the more unusual breeds may not be readily available, and you may need to contact a few breeders and perhaps be placed on a waiting list. Shelters may not have the most appropriate pet for you to adopt when you visit, so you may need to return when a suitable pet becomes available.

Be prepared to travel to find the right pet – the best pet for you may not be in your local neighbourhood. It’s important that you meet the pet before purchase, so travel may be required.

If possible, see the puppy or kitten in the place where it was born, preferably while they are still with their mother. Ensure the place is clean and the puppies and kittens behave in a friendly manner with people and other animals.

When buying a puppy or kitten, it’s important that you are confident they come from a responsible breeder.

Responsible breeders:

 - Provide a high standard of care for their pets
 - Breed healthy pets free from genetic disorders
 - Ensure pets are friendly and socialised
 - Only sell puppies and kittens from eight weeks of age
 - Will make sure the pet is suitable for you and that you will provide a good home for the pet
 - Provide information on the handling and care requirements of the pet
 - Provide a guarantee, cooling-off period or refund.

When adopting a mature pet, try to find out as much as you can about the history of the pet. This may help you understand how the pet is likely to behave and indicate whether you can provide the right home for that pet.

Check out Dr Katrina Warren's advice on how to buy a healthy puppy for more information.