Shopping for a Pet On the Internet






I enjoy shopping on line for computers, cameras, books, gift items and many other things, but I would not shop on line for a pet (cat, dog or any other pet.)

Why?

Simply because buying a pet or rather adopting a pet is a personal thing. It is something you are planning on bonding with and spending, hopefully, its lifetime with.

A pet is not a throw away item, though some people consider them that.

I realize in many cultures people marry with out knowing each other, many people blind date through the Internet sight unseen and there is such a thing as “mail order brides”

What the success rate is for either of them I do not know. Those things deal with humans that can walk away, if need be.

What I am talking about is an animal that has no control over its life.

It is agreed that shopping on line is easy, convenient and gives a person, a great many choices. But, when it comes to looking for a pet, a life long companion, do you want to let someone else decide what is best for you.

It is estimated that 150,000 to 200,000 puppies were bought over the Internet last year. I wonder how many of them are still with their adoptive families.

Why do I say that? Because the odds are against it, for many reasons.

Puppy mills love to sell on line, due to the fact that you cannot see the condition the puppies are in or the conditions they were raised in. A cute and pretty picture does not tell the whole story. Cute pictures create impulse buyers and puppy mills thrive on that.

Puppy mills are mass commercial breeding operations that put profits above the health and welfare of the puppies and their parents.

In a recent article in the Humane Society of the United States “All Animal” magazine, it is stated that when a recent study was done of people who bought their puppies from a pet store, through an ad or on the Internet, none of them knew of their puppies origin. It was not until the puppies were home and problems became apparent, that they started asking questions. The HSUS tracked complaints and found most of the new puppies suffered serious illnesses, congenital defects and severe behavioral issues. About 20 percent of the puppies died within weeks of purchase because of these problems.

Granted there are excellent breeders and kennels that may be selling on line, but they are few and far between.

The Internet is a great place to research for breeds that are compatible with your lifestyle and that of your family. It is a great place to find a pet with the right characteristics that you are looking for, but when the time comes to buy, a face to face meeting is necessary at best.

What are some of the risks that you take when buying a pet on-line:

  • Health is the biggest risk, since you cannot see the actual puppy or its parents.
  • You have no idea of the breeding conditions under which the puppy was raised.
  • There are certain diseases that are common to certain areas of the country, which may not be recognized in your area by your vet.
  • Shipping can cause problems. How is your pet coming to you? Some trucks are not weatherized and airline cargo holds leave much to be desired.
  • The most important factor is that you have never had a chance to hold, cuddle and really see that dear little face. The initial warmth that you feel, that first moment of bonding when you “know,” that is the pet for you is missing.

    So what are the alternatives?

    I say research on the Internet for the breed you are looking for. Spend time looking at breed characteristics, read about breed diseases and physical problems and pick out several breeds that have appeal.

    Getting a pet should not be an impulse buy, it should be something you have thought long and hard about.

    A pet is an expense, if you are on a tight budget, get a fish.

    If time is of the essence for you and you have no “down time,” forget a pet. Dogs and cats need your time. A pet without a devoted owner ends up in a shelter quicker that I can type these words.

    Without your time to train and play with, a pet becomes what it is, an animal that does what nature created it for and that generally does not make an owner very happy.

    Where to look, start with local breeders if you are looking for a pedigreed pet, look at local rescue groups for particular breeds, visit no kill shelters and visit your local animal shelter.

    Banish from your thoughts that all shelter animals are there because they have behavior problems. That is not so and if there is a behavioral problem, more than likely it is the previous owner’s fault for not spending time with the dog and correcting the bad habit.

    The advantage of a shelter dog is that they are checked for disease, have their shots and spay or neutering can be done for a reasonable fee.

    About one in four dogs at a shelter are purebreds.

    If you are still convinced that you want to buy from a breeder visit the HSUS site, http://www.puppybuyersguide.org for their checklist of what to look for before you go.

    Adopting a pet should be a “hands on” opportunity to touch, feel the warmth and see the love pouring out of those “ I only have eyes for you.”



    Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.