Are you Ready?
Welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your life is a big commitment, and one you need to be sure you are ready for. Can you offer your new family member enough time and attention? Will you be able to give them the exercise that they need? Will you need to leave them to go to work and how long will you be away? Have you got someone who can look after them if you can't be there?
If the answer is yes then next step is doing your research to find out what breed of cat or dog would be right for you and your lifestyle. For example, are you looking for a house cat to relax with you on the sofa, or a mousing maestro to be out keeping vermin at bay? Are you looking for a small dog that will be happy tootling round the block or a dog to join you on long adventures uphill and down dale? Once you know what you are looking for, you can begin your search.
Where To Buy?
It is vital to take care when deciding where to buy a puppy or kitten. From 6 April 2020 the law has been changed to make it illegal to sell a puppy or kitten under six months old that you haven’t bred yourself - this is aimed to stop the unscrupulous trade in puppies and kittens. However, you still need to be very careful.
Look for a reputable breeder who is knowledgeable and passionate about the animals they have bred. The breeder should be happy for you to visit their home and meet the mother (and the father if possible) - you can tell a lot about how your puppy may turn out from meeting its parents.
Try to find a breeder who has kept the animals in a similar environment to your home. For example, if you are looking for a puppy or kitten to mix with children and live in the family home, try and find a breeder where the animals have already been in a home and met children.
There are many charities in the UK looking to find homes for all sorts of animals of all shapes and sizes. Before getting a puppy or kitten, ask yourself whether you may consider adopting an adult dog or cat instead.
It is possible (and hugely rewarding) to adopt puppies and kittens through a rescue centre, but they are not always available and it may take patience for the right animal to come along.
From 6 April 2016, it became the law that all dogs and puppies must be microchipped and registered by the age of eight weeks. As it is recommended that puppies are at least 8 weeks old before leaving their mother, it is most likely that the breeder will already have had your puppy microchipped before you bring them home ( alarm bells should be ringing if they haven't). However, if for any reason your puppy has not been microchipped, you will need to get it done as soon as possible.
It is not currently law to have your cat microchipped, but we would strongly recommend getting your kitten microchipped.
Fleas and Ticks
You need to be extremely careful to avoid having fleas and ticks on your new pet, these parasites can cause anaemia, especially in young puppies and kittens. For more information visit our fleas and ticks page (link).
You can treat your pet with flea treatments from 8 weeks of age - we recommend discussing managing fleas and ticks when you visit the vet for your vaccinations.
The first few months of your pet's life will shape the way they feel and behave for the rest of their days - so it's pretty important! You can help you pet grow into a happy and well-rounded individual by exposing them carefully and appropriately to all the things they will need to encounter in life, such as people, children, dogs and other animals (and vets!).
It can be difficult to expose them to these things before they have had their second vaccinations and can safely go out and about, but staying around your house and garden and introducing your puppy to people and pets that you know is a way around this.
Giving them positive experiences at a young age will prepare them to go forward and approach future situations with confidence.
Info & Advice
Can you advise when my pet will need vaccinations?
Yes! We can help make sure that your new pet gets the protection that they need now and for the future. We can also add them to our reminder service, so that you are reminded when boosters are due (call for details).
How soon can I take my puppy for a walk?
Your puppy can go out for walks 10 days after their second injection. Until then we recommend staying around your house and garden and avoiding contact with unfamiliar dogs.
How often should I worm my kitten?
Cats need to be wormed regularly to keep them healthy. Your kitten should be wormed monthly until they are six months of age and then routinely every three months.