When you’ve decided it’s time to add a new furry friend to the family, it can be difficult to decide whether you should adopt or buy a pet. There are practical and ethical considerations for both options, and it’s important to know just where you’re getting your new pet from, and who you’re supporting.
The wellbeing and welfare of your new animal companion should be highly regarded above all other considerations. It’s important to know the pros and cons of both adopting or buying a pet, so you can make an informed decision that will benefit both your family and your new best friend.
Understanding the Options: Adoption, Pet Stores, and Reputable Breeders
When it comes to finding your new pet, you have three main options.
Adopt a Pet
Pet adoption is the process of providing a forever home to an animal in need, typically from an animal shelter, rescue organisation, or foster home. It involves selecting a pet, completing necessary paperwork, and often paying adoption fees.
Buy a Pet from a Reputable Breeder
Buying from a responsible breeder involves finding a breeder with a litter available and choosing your new pet. Buyers typically contact the breeder, inquire about available litters, and may visit the breeder’s facility to assess the living conditions and meet the parents. This way you can ensure they’re indeed a reputable breeder that takes the welfare of their animals very seriously.
Buy a Pet from a Pet Store
Pet stores generally have a range of animals in store available for purchase. They offer the opportunity for you to go into the store and select your new pet, often taking them home that very day. This is often tempting for some buyers, but pet stores come with some ethical concerns relating to the welfare of the animals, as well as a lack of understanding of the health and background of the animal. Often animals sold in pet stores are sourced from mass breeding facilities that don’t hold the wellbeing of the animals in the best interest.
Advantages of Adopting a Pet
- Cost-effectiveness: Adopting a pet is often a much more affordable option than buying from a breeder or pet store. Adopting from a rescue organisation will usually cost around $50 to $350. On occasion, due to rescue shelters becoming full, there may be discounts on adoption fees.
- Clear Health Picture: Rescue centres provide comprehensive health information about your new pet. The rescue group is invested in the health and wellbeing of the animal, and so will ensure you know how to adequately care for your new furry friend. When you adopt, the pet will also be up to date with immunisations and they will have had a full vet check-up.
- Age Flexibility: Not everyone is prepared to take on an energetic puppy or kitten. Rescue centres offer more flexibility around the age of your pet, which means you can opt to get a pet that better suits your lifestyle. You might like to choose an adult dog that already has some training under their belt, or a senior cat that is starting to slow down in their twilight years.
- Saving a Life: When you choose to adopt an animal, you’re offering them a second chance. Pet adoption directly contributes to reducing euthanasia rates. Not only are you offering a forever home to a rescue dog, cat or other animal, but you’re also freeing up a spot in the shelter or rescue centre for another animal in need.
- Mixed Breeds: Often shelter dogs are mixed breed dogs, which is beneficial in many ways. Purebred dogs are often more prone to genetic diseases or other health issues due to selective breeding. A mixed breed shelter dog will often live a longer life and require less vet care over their lifetime.
The Downside of Pet Stores
While pet stores may be convenient, there are many ethical downsides to supporting the pet store industry.
- Lack of Knowledge: Staff are often unaware of the individual needs of a pet. They don’t have the chance to get to know each animal that comes through, and may not have full training on each specific breed and their needs.
- Unknown Origins: Many pets in stores come from mass breeding facilities, or ‘puppy mills’. This means that you may be inadvertently supporting an unethical breeding program by buying a pet from a pet store.
- Questionable Health: When you’re buying from a pet shop, you don’t get a full picture of their overall health and temperament. Pets might come with undisclosed health issues, or they may be at risk of certain genetic conditions.
- Family History: It’s impossible to know the family history of a pet if you buy from a pet store. Young puppies may be taken from their mother much too soon, or many dogs in pet shops haven’t had appropriate socialisation in their young life. This can lead to behavioural issues, or affect their ability to settle into a new home.
- Perpetuate Demand: Supporting pet stores increases demand, which in turn encourages more breeding from people who use unethical breeding practices.
- Age: You will very rarely find adult dogs for sale at a pet store. Pet shops usually focus on selling puppies, kittens and young animals only.
The Merits of Reputable Breeders
- Breed-specific Knowledge: Responsible breeders can offer detailed information about the breed. This is useful in helping you decide if the pet will suit your lifestyle and getting specific tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy.
- Breed Selectivity: Buying from reputable breeders allows you to select the breed of animal, which can be helpful for people with specific requirements, such as those needing a hypoallergenic breed. Responsible breeders who undertake dog breeding are often interested in purebred dogs, which is sometimes preferred by buyers.
- Transparency: A reputable breeder is forthcoming with knowledge about the pet’s lineage and health. They usually allow prospective buyers to meet the parents of the pet so you can ensure they’re in good health and well cared for. You will also usually get a chance to visit the litter and see where the animals have been raised to ensure the conditions are clean and welcoming.
- Health Guarantee: Buying from a good breeder offers assurance that you’re buying a healthy dog or cat. Many responsible breeders carry out genetic testing of their animals to ensure a prospective buyer is aware of any potential genetic health concerns. Reputable breeders ensure the animals have had vet check-ups and are up to date with vaccinations.
- Socialisation: Socialisation is an important aspect of any young pet’s life. When buying from a respectable breeder, you can expect to get a well-adjusted pet that is used to human interaction. The pet also has an opportunity to socialise with their littermates.
The Few Challenges of Reputable Breeders
- Price: Buying a pet from a breeder is often more expensive than adopting a pet from a shelter or buying from a pet shop. That being said, no matter how much you pay for your pet, the price of buying your new pet is just one aspect of the full price of pet ownership. This should be considered by anyone thinking about getting a new furry friend.
- Wait Time: There are potential waiting lists for specific breeds or litters, especially highly sought-after breeds. Responsible breeders often get a good reputation, and due to the slower and more ethical nature of reputable breeding, there can be a wait in between litters.
Gumtree Marketplace: A Trusted Platform
Gumtree is a popular online marketplace and offers a platform for individuals seeking to adopt pets or find reputable breeders. We allow you to filter the search parameters to find what you’re looking for in your ideal pet.
Through the secure messaging function on Gumtree, you can get in touch with local breeders or rescue organisations to ask questions and pay a visit to your prospective pet before you make a final decision.
Our platform allows you to search for your ideal pet from the comfort of your own home, all in one convenient place online.
Making the Right Choice for You and Your New Pet
Once you know the different options for where to buy pets or how to find a pet to adopt, you can make a decision that matches your values and allows you to find a pet that will fit comfortably into your lifestyle.
Making an informed decision about where to buy or adopt your new pet is the first step in your journey to responsible pet ownership. Pet adoption or buying from a reputable breeder ensures you’re supporting ethical practices and animal welfare.