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If you're looking for a new pet, then please consider adopting an animal from the RSPCA (or other reputable animal welfare or rescue organisations). The RSPCA provides shelter to thousands of animals every year that are in need of a good home. All RSPCA animals have undergone health and behaviour checks to make sure they are suitable for adoption as companion pets and have been vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and desexed as appropriate for the species. RSPCA shelter staff can also give you advice regarding general care (nutrition, exercise, training) of your new pet. Regularly check your local RSPCA and Adoptapet.com.au. The RSPCA rehomes many different types of pets including cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and many other types of animals!
Check out the online RSPCA Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer's Guide and the RSPCA Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer's Guide below for important information about getting a new pet and general care.
If you can't find the right pet for you to adopt at the RSPCA or other animal welfare or rescue organisations over time, the next option is to find a good breeder.
It's very important to visit the place where the puppy or kitten was born to check the living conditions are good and that the mother is happy and healthy (and the father too, if he's around). This also means you will be able to observe the behaviour of related animals, and can make sure that you are purchasing a healthy, responsibly bred and well-cared for pet. You'll also be able to talk to the breeder about the specific requirements of your prospective pet. Responsible breeders will ensure that, as a prospective owner, you are made aware of the long term needs of the animal you want to acquire and they will tend to ask you lots of questions as well.
If the breeder is reluctant for you to visit, or wants you to meet the puppy or kitten in another place, find another breeder as they probably have something to hide. Puppy farms will often use a house as a ‘shop front’ so you don’t get to see the poor conditions they breed dogs in. Don’t buy a puppy or kitten from a pet shop or through an internet or newspaper advertisement (or any other way) without being able to visit its home, as you can’t check out the conditions in which the animal was bred or know where it came from.