We hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and your pets were on their best behavior. Mine were eyeing that turkey all day making sure the oven didn’t magically make it disappear. They look forward to their turkey comas all year long. I look forward to it as well as it is one of the few nights where all pets are knocked out in my house. Peace and quiet oh how I soak it up!
Now it’s time to prepare for Christmas. Christmas is often a time for new pets to join families. Little kids ask for a puppy or kitten with a bow on them from Santa. Since it would be a long trip around the world in Santa’s sleigh for a dog or cat to be delivered Christmas eve night this is an opportunity for you to be Santa’s helper. Shelters and rescues are full of pets that would love a new home for the holidays. These pets have large hearts that would bring much joy to your homes.
Shelter Pets vs. Breeders
Choosing a shelter pet over a pet that comes directly from a breeder can have some downfalls, we will not try to deny that. Unfortunately, we often do not know the full background on rescues such as their genetics, any mental or physical disorders and what breeds they are made up of. These factors can cause us to be left with unknown answers to why a pet may behave a certain way and any future health concerns related to breeds to watch out for. With breeders we get full background information on them, their genetics, parent’s personalities as well as knowing they have a clean bill of health.
You may be currently thinking that I just made breeders sound like the best choice over rescues. Working in the animal field for many years I was simply just stating what are the average comparison answers from society. Now I get to challenge the question of shelter pets or breeders? It is important to understand that I am only challenging this question to open more perspectives and not stating one is the correct choice. Each family will decide based on their needs and wants.
Bring on the research
With research being so available to us it is easier for us to learn about our pets then before. Shelter pets are often mixed breeds due to them being strays, from mills where cross breeding is common or their parents were not full breed. Not knowing the breed of your pet can make it challenging to determine what type of personality is most likely to shine and are they prone to any breed related problems as they age. Like ancestry.com where your DNA is checked to determine your heritage this concept is also available for dogs and cats. Your veterinarian can take a DNA sample to be sent to the lab for results. There is also an at home DNA test that can be ordered from Chewy.com https://www.chewy.com/embark-breed-ancestry-identification/dp/167898. Having this knowledge will help you better understand your pet’s personality and prepare for the future. Although these tests are not done in shelters and rescues all pets are seen by a vet that will decide on what breed(s) that pet should be listed under, so you have a basic idea. These tests will just enhance answers to any future questions or curiosity.
Now that you know your pet breed you can do further research into what behavioral traits should be present and any negative traits that may arise. I caution doing too much reading online as with any breed, and I do mean any breed, there will be negative talk and debates between pet owners. It is important to remember all our animals have their own personalities and a lot of their behavior comes from their surroundings. For accurate information go to the professionals- behavioral specialist’s trainers. I have mentioned these trainers in previous blogs. Behavioral specialists work mainly with animals that come from shelters, rescues or other unknown backgrounds. They can help pin point any triggers, how to gain the pet’s trust and confidence and still provide the basic obedience classes that we enroll our new dogs in. Since we don’t usually enroll cats into training these specialists focus more on a comfortable and happy environment with you and your new cat.
Tis the season to be Merry
Christmas time can get very expensive with all the cooking supplies, gifts and holiday cheer. It is only natural that you may be thinking about the costs related to just buying a new pet then having to get them neutered or spayed. Well, I will just throw some costs out there for you all to roll over in your mind. The average lowest price for a full-blooded pet from a breeder can range around $500 with the costs going up a couple grand. Cats from breeders usually start of around $300 to just over $1000. This easily can be a month to a couple months mortgage rate. A better way to compare the costs is for 1 dog purchased from a breeder at the lowest cost you could rescue 2 or more. The same is true for cats. After purchasing a new pet, we still must get them spayed or neutered. Rescues and shelters will have already done this if the pet is old enough. If they haven’t you will be directed to a discounted clinic where you most likely wouldn’t pay more than $100 if nothing at all as it is included with your adoption. Dogs and cats from breeders will not already be fixed. An average cost to take your pet to your vet would be between $200-$350. This cost is usually more expensive as they will do more precautions and send the pet home with pain meds. This is a factor to consider. Of course, you can still take an adopted pet to your vet instead of a clinic if you will have more peace of mind.
There is much to think about when decided where to get a new dog or cat. Both shelters/rescues and breeders offer benefits. With breeders you are left with less questions upfront but will pay the price for that privilege. Shelters/rescues are designed to save lives and help people afford a pet if they are more open to ages and breeds. Although finding out the full details on an animal’s background may never be possible with DNA tests we are able to determine their heritage, future health concerns and behaviors. Also keep in mind shelter/rescue pets may be more reserved at first but once you break down those walls you will have a gem shining through. This may require some training as well but that is part of the process of getting a new pet.
In the end it is your choice with how you want to get a new pet. I may be a little more biased for shelters/rescues as 4 of my dogs are rescues but I do have a dog whom came from a breeder. I love them all the same and can see both sides of where people are coming from with this decision. Either way is there anything cutter then a new pet with a bow and tag saying “from Santa” underneath a Christmas tree?