Adding a pet to a family is an important decision. Most people obtain pets by purchasing them from pet stores or adopting them through animal shelters or rescue agencies. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.
People can adopt pets from animal shelters and rescue organizations. Both offer extensive pre- and post- adoption counseling and education, charge lower fees than pet stores, and often include extras like free neutering, de-worming, vaccinations and a post-adoption physical from a veterinarian.
It's quicker and easier to obtain a pet from a store because you will not need to be screened or evaluated. Young animals, designer pets and purebreds are readily available at pet stores. The store can give you information and paperwork to register your pet. Some stores have health guarantees and pet-return policies.
Your pet choice is limited to the shelter's current inventory, which may not include young animals or purebreds. You may need to pass an evaluation and counselor interview. A pet's unknown parentage and past environment may lead to genetic or personality problems later.
Most stores obtain pets from high-volume commercial breeders who provide inadequate exercise, nutrition and health care for their pets. Animals raised in these conditions often develop physical, mental and behavioral problems. Pets at stores can be expensive; their fee does not include vaccinations, de-worming or a post-purchase veterinarian visit.
Investigate before visiting a pet store or shelter. Online search engines like Petfinder.com will help you locate shelters and available pets. Ask for references from friends and family who own pets. Get recommendations from a trusted veterinarian. Find out about a store or shelter by checking with the Better Business Bureau and state licensing agency.
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