Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pet Stores

I have a new job!
I work in a pet store!!!

Really I couldn't think of a better job for me.
First : I love pets.
All kinds of animals:snakes, birds, fish, mice, hamsters etc.
All of them.
Second : I HAVE a lot of pets so I can really use the discount on supplies :)

So today I thought I would touch on the things you should do before purchasing a pet.

First off pet stores are not petting zoos. Pet store clerks have to discourage people from handling the pets unless they intend to buy them. This is NOT out of meanness or laziness. Its just plain better for the animals. If we let everyone who came in hold and play with any pet they wanted even though the had no intention of actually buying it the poor critters would be stressed out and sick from never getting any rest and we wouldn't have time to tend to them like they need.

OK now we have all been there... you go in and this cute little animal looks at you with big eyes and you just HAVE to buy it.

You should NEVER buy a living creature as an impulse buy.

Too often pets are looked at as disposable. If you think you can get it and then if you get tired just give it away or toss it out or whatever, you don't need a pet. Get a virtual pet on your computer or get a plant. One should consider the commitment required to keep a pet before purchasing it.

How is this pet going to fit into your family structure? With kids or other pets?
Is it suitable for your living environment? ( apartment, house, city,country..)
Can you afford to house this animal properly? Don't take an animal home that you don't already have housing for.
Can you afford to feed it properly? Do you know how difficult his diet may be?
Do you have time to clean its habitat on a regular basis? Weekly? Daily?
Are you going to have time to socialize the animal? (play with it, give it exercise and be sure its people and pet friendly)
Do you know what diseases or ailments frequently occur in these animals?
Will this animal need shots or surgery ?
( example: musk gland removal in ferrets; spay or neuter; etc..)
Can you afford the vet bills to come?
Do you know how LONG this animal will live and are you ready to commit to keeping this creature for his lifetime?( some fish can live 20 years, some birds can live past 90 years!)

None of these things are going through your mind when those adorable eyes are peering through the glass at you, but that's when you need to stop! Look around in the store at the things available for the pet that you may not realize you will need to care for this pet. It will begin to sink in. Ask the pet store personnel , but don't just take their word for it. Look the animal up online, get a book on it, ask if the store has care sheets for this pet.

Here's another thing to pay attention to: The store itself.
DO the people working there seem knowledgeable of their pets? Do they offer care sheets?
Are the pets housed well?
Plenty of food and water available? Clean cages?
Do the animals look healthy? You want an animal with bright eyes, attentive to its surroundings, a healthy weight and a good skin or coat.
See if the pets are captive bred or wild caught. Sometimes wild caught animals have more parasites and health issues.

Never ever buy a cat or dog from a pet store. Even if they have papers saying they are pure breed you can be 95% certain they are products of a puppy or kitten mill. Please don't support the mills by purchasing cats or dogs in a pet store.

If the pet store is selling cats or dogs its not a good sign. Reputable breeders will NOT sell their cats or dogs through a pet store. You only want to buy from a breeder who will allow you to visit the home the puppies or kittens are raised and housed in. This means they are breeding the animals in an environment to give them the best temperament to be placed in a new home. Always check that the breeders test their dogs or cats for any diseases or ailments that tend to occur in that specific breed. All reputable breeders do this and have the documentation to prove it.

A good pet store will have a list of reputable breeders as well as a list of rescues by breed. The store I work in has these available at our register, and does NOT sell puppies or kittens. We do however have a wall of pictures of the adoptions available through our local shelter and we support the local shelter through donation boxes at each register :D

I know of some pet store that take in litters to find homes for them. They never pay for the litters this discourage disreputable breeders from trying to use them. They simply take in unwanted litters from people who didn't spay or neuter their animals. They do charge people who want these kittens or puppies from the store but not for the profit of it so much as to assure the customer is truly interested in a pet and doesn't have other motives. Similarly I have seen vets offices that do the same. In these cases you can see buying kittens or puppies from a store being a good thing. Just keep in mind these animals should not be high
priced it they are its a mill situation and not strays that the clinic or store are attempting to home.

Consider going to your local shelter if you really want a dog or a cat. Far too many go unwanted there and need a good loving home.They make just as good a companion as full breeds and you will save an animal from being euthanized. Consider an older pet as well. Kittens and puppies in shelters find homes the quickest and a loving wonderful older cat or dog may be sitting there just waiting for a good owner. Older pets can be great additions to a home so don't overlook them!

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