Choosing a new pet

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Choosing a new pet is an exciting time, but we recommend you don't rush into it. Depending on the breed, dogs live for about 10-13 years and cats 15-20 years, so a pet is a long-term commitment, and it pays to do your homework.

When purchasing a new pet it is important you:

  • Do not buy pets from a car park or other public place – it is illegal to sell companion animals in public places without a permit. This is a common sign that a sale may not be legitimate.
  • Always meet the pet, and its parents if you can, and ask to see their current living conditions.
  • Check that the advertisement includes a source number and that the number is valid on the Pet Exchange Register website.
  • Make sure to get proof of vet checks, microchipping and vaccinations – it is a requirement to microchip all cats and dogs before they are sold or given away in Victoria.
  • Immediately update your pet’s microchip details after purchase and register them with Council.

Residents who suspect illegal breeding activity are encouraged to make a report to the RSPCA.

Choosing a Pet Guide 

The Agriculture Victoria Choosing a Pet guide provides information to assist when choosing the right pet for you and your family’s needs.

The guide covers:

  • What type of pet best suits your lifestyle and surroundings?
  • Can I look after a pet at the property?
  • Children and pets

This guide also provides information on the steps to becoming a responsible pet owner as all pet owners have a duty of care to protect the welfare of their animals.

The Victorian Government has recently released a ‘Choosing a Healthy Pet’ checklist to help combat unethical breeding.

The choosing a healthy pet checklist offers tips to help you buy or adopt the right pet, whether you want a pet from a breeder, shelter or rescue organisation, as well as useful links that will assist in the purchase of your new pet. 

Pet adoption

For tips to help you buy or adopt the right pet visit the Agriculture Victoria choosing a pet webpage. You can also find information on pet adoptions by visiting the Animal Aid website.

Choosing a Dog or Cat

The Agriculture Victoria website provide information to help people thinking of purchasing a dog or cat.

The guides cover:

  • Legal requirements for dog/cat owners
  • Health requirements
  • Training and behavioural problems
  • Your dog/cats welfare needs

The choosing a healthy pet checklist webpage provides important information on questions to ask when choosing a dog or cat and useful links that will assist in the purchase of your new pet from a reputable establishment.

Choosing other Pets

Cats and dogs both make great pets however they may not always be the best or most practical option. The Agriculture Victoria other pets webpage lists information and care requirements for a number of pets that 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 healthy and happy.

Useful links