Shelter or Breeder: Which is the right option for you when getting your new pet?

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Guest post: Australians love having pets. However, many get stuck between buying pets from a breeder or adopting from a shelter. While adopting from a shelter has long been seen as the only ethical choice, the situation is much more complex depending on your circumstances. 

Both shelters and breeders come with their unique advantages and disadvantages. Struggling to decide between the two? This comparison between shelters and breeders will hopefully bring you one step closer to getting your new pet!

Why adopt from a shelter?

There are two major advantages to adopting from a shelter. The first is that it costs considerably less than buying from a breeder. The second is that you’re giving a second chance to an animal that may have been abandoned and in need of a family. This aspect of shelters has definitely been a huge motivator for people to adopt.

Some people also enjoy the unknowns that come with adoption. Your new furry friend would be a bit of a mystery, which can be fun under the right circumstances. This uncertainty may not be ideal if you’re looking for specific characteristics or have young children at home. These are among the many things to consider before getting a pet in the first place.

The downsides of adopting from a shelter

One downside of adopting from a shelter is the lack of predictability. Breeders typically know every little detail about the dogs they sell. A shelter, however, may not even be sure of the dog’s breed, much less their medical history. This can result in some surprises down the road, as your new pet may have a temperament you weren’t expecting or a vulnerability to certain medical conditions. This makes pet insurance all the more important when adopting from shelters. Make sure to know the facts about pet insurance before considering this option.

Another downside of adopting from a shelter is that not all shelters are focused on the welfare of animals. Both dogs and cats are incredibly popular in Australia, with over 90% of people stating their pets have enhanced their mental health. This has led some shelters to engage in unethical practices to cash in on the country’s high demand for pets. Researching a shelter before adopting is essential to avoid enabling these practices.

Why buy from a breeder?

Many people prefer to buy directly from a breeder rather than adopt from shelters or purchase from pet stores. There are several advantages to buying from a breeder, the most notable of which being their wealth of knowledge about your new puppy. A reputable breeder can answer the majority of questions you may have about a puppy’s medical history, family history, temperament, and much more. You’re unlikely to be faced with any major surprises when you bring your puppy home.

Buying from a breeder is also ideal for people looking for purebred dogs. It’s important to note that seeking out a purebred dog shouldn’t be viewed as vain or superficial. Dogs tend to be bred for different tasks, whether that be as hunting dogs, guard dogs, etc. If you want a dog to fill a specific role in your family or as a companion, buying purebred may be the way to go. Buying from a breeder also saves you from third-party deals, which can be costly, confusing, and lead to miscommunication about your puppy.

The disadvantages of buying from breeders

One disadvantage of buying from a breeder is that they’re typically more expensive. The cost of your puppy will depend largely on where you live and what breed you want, but the cost will be higher than adopting from a shelter regardless. You’ll also need to do your research to avoid unintentionally buying from puppy mills. These commercial breeding facilities often engage in abusive behaviours, as they’re concerned solely with profits.

Which is right for you?

In the end, both shelters and breeders are completely valid choices for where to get your new pet. When choosing between the two, it’s best to focus on their unique advantages, such as the low costs of shelters versus the reliability of breeders. To avoid their shared disadvantage (abusive and shady operators), you should do a considerable amount of research before buying or adopting your pet from anywhere.

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