Taking the leap into pet ownership can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that you will ever do. Having a new friend that offers unconditional love and companionship is a feeling second to none. However, it also comes with a large amount of responsibility. From the day your new family member arrives, they will be depending on you for all their needs. So, the first question you need to ask is…

Are you ready?

The age-old saying, “a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas,” may seem a big cliché, but it is so true. We see too many animals going through the upheaval of finding a new home because people have jumped in too quickly and not thought about the long-term responsibility that they are taking on.

We cannot advise strongly enough to do your research and thinking before adding a new pet to the family. Speak to experts – trainers, breeders and breed societies – and speak to us. We are very happy to advise you on prospective purchases and to advise whether a new animal would be a good fit for you and your family.

Choosing the right animal for you is so important – not just the type of pet but also the breed. One breed of dog can be very different to another, for example.

You need to consider factors like:

  • How much time have you got available to spend with the animal?
  • How much space have you got for the animal to live in?
  • How much exercise would you be able to give the animal?
  • How much can you afford to spend – both on buying the animal and, more importantly, its ongoing care?
  • Will you need to leave the animal alone and, if so, how long for?
  • Who will look after the animal while you are on holiday or away from home?
  • Who is going to take responsibility for tasks such as feeding, exercising, cleaning out cages and so on?

If you are getting a pet for a child or family member, can you be confident that they will uphold their promises? Are you prepared to care for the animal yourself if they get bored?

Getting started

So, you’ve done your thinking and you are ready to welcome a new pet into the family. It’s such an exciting time and we are here to help every step of the way.

Where to buy?

Whether you are buying a young pet or rehoming an older animal, you need to think carefully about where you get your pet from. Our vets have seen too much heartache when people have purchased pets from unscrupulous sources. You want to make sure that you purchase a pet from a reputable breeder or pet shop. Look for word of mouth recommendations or a seller where you can speak to people who have previously purchased.

If you are buying a young animal, try to see at least the mother of the animals (ideally the father as well) so you can see that they are healthy and have a good temperament. Make sure that the pet you are purchasing is old enough to be leaving its mother and all requirements have been met – for example, a puppy should not be leaving it’s mother before 8 weeks of age, so therefore should come with a microchip (a puppy is legally required to be microchipped by 8 weeks of age).

See our puppies and kittens page for advice on where to buy puppies and kittens.

If you have any questions about purchasing an animal, please contact us for advice.

Consider rehoming

There are many charities in the Coventry area looking to find homes for all sorts of animals of all shapes and sizes. The benefits of adopting through a reputable rehoming centre is that they will be on hand to offer help and support throughout the rehoming process and as the new pet settles into your home.

It is important to be honest about your experience with the rehoming centre – if it is your first time looking after an animal, let them know so they can match you with the right animal. Be prepared that they may advise that you are not suitable for a particular animal. Some rescued animals have complex needs and may need an owner with more experience.

However, if you are prepared to be patient and to put your trust in the rehoming centre, there can be nothing more rewarding then giving a pet a second chance with your family.

Welcoming your new pet

Before your new pet arrives, it is important to be prepared.

Your pet will need:

  • Suitable food
  • Access to water
  • A safe space to live in, including somewhere to sleep
  • Something safe to travel in, such as a box or a basket - not just to travel home but also to travel to see your vet

Other things to consider, depending on the species:

  • A collar and lead (dogs are legally required to wear a collar in public)
  • Treatments for parasites, such as worms, fleas and ticks
  • Insurance
  • Toys to keep your pet stimulated
  • Regular grooming and claw trimming
  • Toothbrush for teeth cleaning

Get in touch

It is also important to register your new animal with your vet before you bring them home. Registering them with us will make it easier should they ever need help in an emergency and it will also give us the opportunity to book them in for a health check.

We recommend booking any new animal an appointment with one of our vets, regardless of its age as it gives the vet the opportunity to get to know you and your pet and, most importantly, to check that the new animal is in good health once it has arrived with you.

Health checks are free with vaccinations, so these appointments can be a great opportunity to check the wellbeing of your new family member. If you have taken on a young animal, then checking what vaccinations the pet has already had or may need, is particularly important. Most young animals will need one or two vaccinations in the first few months of their lives. For more information, see our vaccinations page.

INFORMATION & ADVICE

Some of your questions answered

How do I know if I am ready to own a pet?

Before taking on a new pet, you need to be sure that you have got the time, the funds, the space in your home and the space in your heart for a new member of the family. You also need to have done your research so you can be confident in knowing how to provide their care.

Where should I look to get my pet from?

Only buy from reputable breeders or pet shops. Look for those with good references and those that have been recommended by word of mouth. Where suitable, consider rehoming. Animal charities will work to match you with a suitable pet and will be there to support you.