Choosing a New Pet

A pet can provide a lot of joy for their owner and family. It is important that new owners choose wisely when looking to add a pet to their family. 

The Agriculture Victoria Choosing a Pet webpage provides valuable information to help anyone thinking of adding a pet to their family. The guide covers:

  • Whether you are ready for the responsibility of a pet
  • Find the right type of dog to help ensure dog-owner compatibility and that the pet is healthy and happy
  • Find the right place to get their new pet by adopting from a shelter or through a responsible breeder
  • Avoid buying from a puppy farm or other irresponsible breeder.

The guide also provides information on the steps to becoming a responsible pet owner and how to ensure new owners are taking home a healthy, happy and well-adjusted pet.

Choosing a Dog or Puppy

The Agriculture Victoria Dog webpage provides information to help anyone thinking of purchasing a dog or puppy. The guide covers:

  • Legal requirements
  • Animal welfare
  • Dog training and behaviour
  • Guard dogs
  • Restricted breeds

Choosing a Cat or Kitten

The RSPCA has very useful information on selecting a cat and AnimalAid has information on pet adoptions.

Other Pets

Cats and dogs make great pets, but are not always the most practical or best option. Other pets may better suit your current lifestyle or situation.

A small pet such as a bird, fish or rabbit can be a great way to introduce young children to pets. Just remember that these pets often require just as much care and attention as a dog or cat to stay happy and healthy.

The Victoria State Government website has further information on:

Some animals are not suitable for life in the suburbs. The Whitehorse City Council Community Local Law 2014 ( PDF 202.61KB) regulates the type and number of animals you can keep on a single property. This protects the amenity of the area as well as looking after the welfare interests of animals that are unsuitable for a residential area.

What to look for in a responsible breeder

To work out whether you are getting a puppy or dog from a responsible breeder, you need to ask the following questions:

  • Is the breeder meeting all legal requirements? Check on the Pet Exchange Register if the breeder / seller is registered as required
  • Did the breeder plan ahead for this litter ensuring there were enough good homes for all the puppies? 
  • Does the breeder allow you visit the breeding place and meet the mother dog (and father too, if he’s around)?
  • Are you impressed with the standard of care and living conditions for all the dogs?
  • Is the breeder genuinely concerned about the welfare of their dogs, open to questions and able to provide a complete history of the puppy?
  • Have the puppies been health checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated, microchipped, and treated for internal and external parasites like intestinal worms and fleas?
  • Does the breeder make sure that you and the puppy will suit each other? Do they ask you questions to make sure you will be a responsible owner? Is your puppy bred to be a healthy pet, with a suitable temperament and free from known inherited diseases?
  • Does the breeder offer to provide on-going support and information after purchase and do they provide a guarantee? Does the breeder talk to you about desexing, training, socialisation and local government registration requirements?
  • Does the breeder provide references to back up what they have told you?