Deciding to obtain a pet is an important decision. There are many important factors to consider including the breed, age, and activity level of the pet, as well as your lifestyle, family, home space, and finances. We urge you to think about this decision carefully, learn about the type of animal you are interested in, and to ideally visit one of our adoption centers to meet the available pets and discuss which one would be a good fit for your family.
If you feel strongly that you would like a specific breed of dog or cat, try reaching out to breed-specific rescue organizations first. If you plan to purchase a puppy or kitten from a breeder, consider the following tips.
- Research the breed you are interested in. Know the traits and standards for the breed. Be aware of the common health issues of this breed.
- Most breed-specific rescue organizations and responsible breeders are happy to share information about the breed they work with. A responsible breeder has established breeding policies and goals such as improving structure, health, and/or temperament of the breed. They should being willing to share this information about their breeding program with you and ideally include the information on their website.
- Avoid “free to good home” and other similar ads. Most responsible breeders have waiting lists and don’t advertise in this manner.
- Be wary of purchasing a pet online or from a non-local breeder whose facility you cannot visit. Visiting the home or breeding facility of the breeder, meeting at least one of the parents of the puppy or kitten, and ideally meeting the puppy or kitten itself prior to purchase are important steps in ensuring you are purchasing a heathy pet from a reputable breeder.
- Ask the breeder for references from recent clients who have purchased a pet from them.
- Responsible breeders usually focus on only one breed. If a breeder has many different types of puppies or kittens available, this could be someone who is distributing pets bred elsewhere (such as a “puppy mill”), rather than truly being a breeder themselves.
- Ask about the breeder’s policy if for some reason you can no longer keep the dog or cat. A responsible breeder will almost always take the pet back regardless of age or condition.
- Read about breed-appropriate health testing and screening for genetic disorders. Ask the breeder what health and genetic tests have been done on the parents (and ideally grandparents) and what the results were. Ask for documentation.
- A responsible breeder should interview you to make sure that you will provide an excellent home and to determine if he/she has a puppy or kitten that is a good match for your family, preferences and lifestyle. The breeder should ask you for references.
- Ask for the breeder’s policy about what happens if something is medically wrong with the animal. Most responsible breeders will provide some type of guarantee or return policy. BONUS: The ideal breeder establishes a relationship with their puppy or kitten owners and is available to answer questions for the life of the animal.
- The animals should look healthy, be kept in clean conditions and be raised using appropriate socialization protocols.
- Registration papers are not a guarantee of pedigree or quality of the puppy or kitten and do not mean the puppies or kittens were bred or raised in humane conditions. Many puppies from puppy mills have AKC registration papers.