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General Pet Advice

How do I find a vet?

There is more than likely going to be a vet in your village or local town. Ask around as it is always good to have a recommendation from someone else,  or have a look on the internet. Make sure you have researched the cost of veterinary services before you buy a pet.

When should my pet have their vaccinations?

As soon as you buy your pet, try and get an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. It is always a good idea to get your animal checked thoroughly, and your vet will provide you with a timetable and information about vaccinations they acquire. Usually your pet will need a series of vaccinations within a few months, and then a booster jab every year.

Why should my pet have their vaccinations?

Vaccinations protect your pet from disease (and stop them spreading disease too!), and many kennels or catteries will not accept looking after your animals without their vaccinations.

How often do they need a booster?

Your pet will generally need a booster once a year which keeps their vaccinations up to date.

What does a booster do?

After the primary immunisations, a booster dose or booster injection is administered after a certain length of time to keep the immunised up to date.

How long should I keep my pet indoors before/after any vaccinations?

Definitely keep your pets indoor before their vaccinations. Your vet can advise whether it is necessary to keep your pet indoors after their vaccinations.

What are the pros and cons of having my pet sterilised?

Apart from obviously preventing unwanted pregnancies, having your pet sterilised or spayed holds many other benefits.

Pets that have been neutered or spayed have longer life spans and healthier and happier. This is because they are no longer vulnerable to diseases such as testicular or ovarian cancer, and their hormones are better balanced meaning they are more relaxed and less likely to have erratic behaviour. Male animals after being neutered are generally less aggressive, and won’t mark their territory around the house.

It is incredibly important to consider having your pet sterilized as they can have more than one litter in a year, and overpopulation of pets means more strays.  There is never an ‘accidental’ pregnancy or litter; your pet is YOUR responsibility and it’s up to you to look after them and their offspring if anything should happen. 

What are the signs of a trustworthy/untrustworthy breeder?

Good breeders will always ask questions and want to know details about you, and generally they will encourage you to visit them more than once. The young animals that they keep should be healthy, inquisitive and living in clean conditions. Be wary if the pets are nervous or shy away from you. A trustworthy breeder will also let you see the mother and sometimes the father, and should also provide you with written contract and guarantee of health that does not require you use a specific veterinarian. 

An untrustworthy breeder may hand you over a pet with no questions asked and no interest in you and your family. Pets are for life, and a reputable breeder will definitely want to make sure their animals are going to a 'forever' home.  Find out what a standard price is for the breed of animal you want to buy. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How do I go about adopting or rescuing a pet?

Find out the nearest sanctuary to you and go for a visit and a chat with the volunteers there. You can contact the RSPCA and find out the nearest animal adoption centre near you.

Does my pet need a microchip or will a collar suffice?

A collar can be easily lost, so a microchip is essential if you want to know you pet will be returned to you should it go walk about. Also collars can get caught on fences or trees, potentially harming your pet.

My pet has shown a distinct change in character/ behaviour, should I take it to the vet?

Yes, definitely. If you have any worries about your pet it is best to see someone to put your mind at rest. It might simply be a case of unbalanced hormones, in which case a vet may suggest your pet is neutered or spayed. However, there is always a possibility it might be something slightly more serious, so it always best to check.

I have a small house and a small garden - what is the best pet for me?

It is important for pets to have their own space, no matter what size they are. Cats can generally roam around lots of different territories so take this into consideration if you want to keep your pet nearby.
Dogs are less likely to wander around like cats, so plenty of exercise is needed, otherwise they go stir crazy! It's not impossible to keep a larger breed of dog in a smaller home or flat- but be sure to keep them entertained and take them out and about. However, dogs such as French Bulldogs have been known to get on well in apartments, as they are a small-medium sized breed and enjoy lazing around.
Of course, a small garden is perfect to keep a hutch or run outside in- so you could consider small animals or chickens.
If you’re living in a built up area beware of unwanted guests that can creep into your garden; a nice rabbit or chicken can make a tasty snack for a hungry fox.

If my pet has a litter how do I approach without causing harm?

Try not to get near straight away or touch the offspring when the mother isn’t looking- she will smell you on them and may reject them. For the first 8 weeks the mother will instinctively care for her young herself - just make sure this is in a quiet place.
Keep the father away from the litter he can get jealous and will attack his offspring, resulting in him then being attacked by the female trying to protect her young.
You have to be very careful with small mammals like rabbits and chinchillas as the mothers will eat their young if they believe they are in danger. It is always best to keep your distance, and call a vet if there a any troubles.

Should I get a male or female? Are there major differences in character/behaviour?

Both sexes make good pets, but of course there are differences between male and female animals.
With dogs I find the characteristics between bitches and dogs not too different. I have met female dogs who have been true to the namesake of being 'bitchy' but then there are plenty of female dogs that are friendly and playful. A lot of fights between dogs can happen between two females, and it also depends if you want a dog going through heat.
If cats remain unsterilized, there are tremendous differences between the two sexes. When in heat, a female cat will screech and wail and try and find a mate. She may start to ‘collect’ things and keep them in a nest or her bed. An unneutered male cat will roam around a lot and is much more likely to fight other cats for territory. However if you get them neutered/spayed, these differences are less apparent and the cats will make calm and pleasant pets. Males may still be territorial and females typically don’t like other cats getting too close.

With rabbits, bucks are more likely to be territorial of wide spaces whereas does are much more nest based and can be territorial of their hutch or bedding. If you have more than one, same sex rabbits are much more likely to fight.

If my pet had a litter, what is the best way to sell them on/give them away?

I would suggest to not give pets away for free. This could attract people who aren’t serious about buying a pet, or even use it for medical reasons. If you put a good, fair price on them, this will encourage buyers who really want a pet. Also if you are selling them yourself make sure that the litter is healthy and have had their necessary vaccinations. Websites suchs as act as an online database for breeders- simply type in an animal type and breed, and results will show breeders with contact details. Setting up a account there will let people know of your new litter- just provide details of meetings and high quality photographs.


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