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Choosing your pet

A life-long commitment, a life-long pleasure

Key Points

At Blacklion Pet Hospital we do free puppy and kitten health checks for new pets. At this visit we will advise on what vaccines and parasite treatments should be given and when.

  • Always considering rescuing a pet before buying from a breeder
  • If buying online be very wary - only use websites that are IPAAG compliant
  • Call the number and ask can you call back on a landline. Even good and genuine breeders may not have one but it's an added comfort if they do
  • Ask is the pet vaccinated by a vet. A lot of breeders do the first vaccines themselves. It is safer for you if you know they are done by a vet as otherwise the vaccines may not have been sourced, stored or administered correctly. Your pet may get sick
  • Our very strong advice is only buy pups that are vaccinated by a vet. For proof before you go to buy the pup ask the breeder to send you a photo of their vaccination certificate - it should have a veterinary practice stamp on it. We can look at it for you and advise. See the RTE video below as a warning of what can go wrong
  • Never buy a pet in a carpark - always insist on going to the breeders premises and seeing the pup's or kitten's mother and preferably also the father
  • If you don't like anything about the deal - walk away!
  • No pups should have their tails docked - it's illegal. We can help advise you and if your pup was docked when you got him you are never going to be in trouble but you do have to report the breeder to the ISPCA
  • From September 2015 all pups have to be microchipped by law before being sold and the breeder must complete a change of ownership document with you
  • Before you get your new pet come to the vet for advice
  • As soon as you get your new pet come to the vet and take all the paperwork the breeder gave you.
  • Rescue if you can
  • Beware if you buy online
  • A life-long commitment
  • How to choose the right pet for you
  • A pet is for life, not just Christmas, a year or even a decade!

Rescue if you can

Always always consider rescuing a pet ahead of purchasing one from a breeder.

If you are local to Greystones and you are interested in rehoming a dog we recommend you visit the Wicklow Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter in Sharpshill, near Gleneally or go to Dogs Trust

If you are further afield you can still try Dogs Trust, contact your local SPCA, Animal Rescue Centre or your vets, or have a look at the ISPCA for advice.

If you are close to Greystones and would like a little cat our very good friends at Greystones Kitty Hostel & TNR are the people to contact. They often are desperately looking for new homes for litters they have rescued and occasionally have adult cats looking for a new home. They do a great job and we have a deal with them for discounted vaccinations, neutering, etc for all cats they find new homes for.

Beware if you buy online

If you choose to buy a new pet for you and your family - do your research and only buy from a reputable small-scale breeder, not a "puppy-farmer".

If possible ask some friends about where they bought their pet. Perhaps contact the Irish Kennel Club to point you in the direction of a reputable breeder of the breed you are interested in.

If you choose to buy from an on-line source - be very careful. It can be very very difficult to tell the difference between the good breeders and the cowboys, the puppy-farmers.

The best starting point for buying on-line and a source of really good information is IPAAG (The Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group). Here you can read what to look out for when going online and what websites are compliant with the IPAAG guidelines. You should only look at advertisements on those compliant  websites.

A few quick tips for buying online:

  • Only buy from an IPAAG Compliant website.
  • Never buy from someone who wants to meet you anywhere but their own home. Do not meet someone in a carpark etc, even if they say it's to suit you.
  • Always look at the mother and preferably also the father. Look for their papers if they are a pedigree.
  • Walk away if you do not like anything. Report it to the ISPCA if you feel there is neglect. The will act and the powers in our welfare law to act is fantastic.
  • Try to agree a deal that the pup or kitten can be returned after it is vet checked, or alternatively that you will be refunded any veterinary fees if they become unwell within 48 hours. In any event always get a receipt.
  • For dogs - they by law have to be microchipped when you buy them and the breeder has to complete a change of ownership form at the time of sale.
  • Ask for all the paperwork and bring this to your vet as soon as possible. 
  • If the pup's or kitten's vaccines were not done by a vet we advise not to buy, but if you do go ahead irrespective, then your vet will advise to do a full vaccination course before it is safe to take them outside.

Always ask us for advice - it's free and we're delighted to give it.

We are always here for pet owners (or potential pet owners!) in the Greystones area to offer good (and free) advice if you are thinking of getting a new pet. Give us a call and our nursing team will be delighted to give you as much advice as you need.

A life-long commitment

Before you get a pet though you really have to understand that this is going to be a 15 or 20 year commitment - it's for the life of your pet. There is no divorce in pet ownership, the responsibility required does not reduce as time goes on (pets don't grow up and leave home!) and ultimately you will always outlive your pet. 

Make sure you understand this, make sure you can afford to pay for your pet's feeding, boarding fees, grooming, veterinary care and so on. Make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for if you decide to get a larger or working breed - they need more room, more exercise, more time, can be expensive to feed and are often more prone to serious ailments at a younger age than smaller, less active breeds. Similar is true for pedigree dogs and cats - they will require more care and can often be more prone to ailments than your plain old muttley or moggy. 

How to choose the right pet for you

Consider your own circumstances:

  • Are you going to be home during the day or out at work?
  • Do you have a small or large garden?
  • Could you put in a pet-flap on your back door?
  • Do you go away much on business?
  • Have you young children - there are some breeds that are extremely docile and excellent with children - Labradors, Retrievers, Cavaliers etc. 

Consider your desires and instincts:

  • Are you a cat person or a dog person?
  • Do you want a little toy lap dog or a bigger 'mans' dog?
  • Maybe something in the middle might be what you want?
  • Do you want a little terrier that can travel around in you car when you work or do you want a bigger dog to keep unwanted intruders at bay? 

All of these will impact on what type of pet you should consider - and what type of pet you should not consider. Unless you have a large garden or are going to be at home during the day to exercise your pet, then you really shouldn't consider taking on a large or active breed - it just isn't fair on them.

Consider a cat or a small breed of dog that can go in and out a pet flap in your back door and happily totter around in the back garden all day or lie in the house. You can even get a microchip oerated pet flap that will only let your pets in, stopping all the neighbourhood cats from eating your food and sleeping in your house!

A pet is for life, not just Christmas, a year or even a decade!

In summary we cannot make up your mind for you put we can tell you that you should never, ever, get a pet on a whim or give a pet as a potentially unwanted present. When you get a pet you are responsible for them for the rest of their lives - maybe up to 16 or more years for a dog or even 20 years for a cat.

Take your time, realise that having a pet is time consuming, expensive and a real commitment and then chose a pet that will both suit your own circumstances and also benefit from the amount of time and love that you are able to give. Read more in our PetGuide, learn what you have to do to care properly for a pet and then, if you feel you are up to it, start thinking about whether you are able to give a pet the care that they need.

If you are, great - outside of the love of your family having a pet is probably the most rewarding relationship you can ever have. 

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