5 Proven Steps to Purchasing a New Animal
What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a New Animal
Welcoming a new animal can be an exciting process, but there are many things you need to consider before purchasing. Do your research beforehand to know what to expect. Be wary of red flags, and do not be afraid to ask questions. Hopefully, this article will provide you with the information you need to make the process go smoothly.
Are you considering adding a new animal to your family or farm? Whether it’s a new family dog or a fancy show horse, there are many things to consider before purchasing an animal. This article will discuss some of the questions you should be asking and the critical information you need before welcoming a new animal into your life.
1. Finding a Reputable Source
Finding a reputable breeder or farm is a critical first step in the purchasing process. Before contacting a seller, do some research on their reviews and reputation within the industry. Puppy mills are unfortunately quite common. With fancy websites and advertisements, they can be challenging to spot. For this reason, schedule a visit to see the seller’s facilities whenever possible. If the seller does not permit visitation, this should be a red flag.
Whether it’s a breeding operation or livestock farm, pay close attention to the quality of the facilities and the condition of the animals. Animals should be housed in an appropriate and clean environment with easy access to food and water. Signs of neglect or injured animals should prompt serious questions.
2. Obtaining Records
A reputable seller should have breeding and medical records readily available. Medical records should include a vaccination history and the most recent preventatives or deworming treatments. If the animal is on any other medications, this should be included as well. It is critical to obtain official copies from the animal’s existing veterinarian. These documents are necessary for transport and contain essential information your veterinarian will need to provide appropriate ongoing care. Verbal assurance from the seller that the animal is up to date on vaccines or medical care is not enough.
Some dog breeders will advertise that their dogs undergo specific screening for common health conditions like hip dysplasia. Ask for the particular certification program and proper documentation. Do your research to understand the common health concerns with certain breeds and the associated tests. If the breeder is advertising that their animals have undergone this specialized testing and certification process, producing the appropriate documentation should not be an issue.
3. Pre-Purchase Exam
Pre-purchase exams are standard practice in the equine industry. These exams involve a full medical workup by a veterinarian. Depending on the intended use of the animal, this exam may include blood tests, x-rays, and lameness evaluation. Although these exams can be pretty costly, they are essential to ensure the horse does not have any hidden injuries or medical conditions. Horses are a significant financial investment, and unforeseen medical needs can add up quickly. The cost of a pre-purchase exam varies greatly but ranges from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
The pre-purchase exam is an excellent time for you and your veterinarian to evaluate the horse’s temperament. Drug screening can be essential to ensure the horse’s behavior is not a result of medication or sedatives. Drug screening is an additional expense but is worth discussing with your veterinarian.
Following a pre-purchase exam, your veterinarian will provide a detailed report containing their findings and any concerns. Just because your veterinarian finds something on the pre-purchase exam doesn’t always mean you should not proceed with the purchase. Some medical conditions are quite manageable. Use the information to determine what you are comfortable with and if the animal fits your needs.
Although these pre-purchase exams are more common in the equine industry, it is worth considering for small animal and livestock purchases. A buyer may not permit a complete exam in some cases, but it may be possible to have your veterinarian review the animal’s medical records.
4. Contracts and Payment
A sales agreement and contract should be a part of every animal purchase. Having everything in writing is critical to protect both you and the seller. The sale contract should include general health information about the animal, medical and breeding history, price, and warranties. The specifics of the contract may vary based on the species of animal. Pay close attention to warranties and terms of the contract. Many contracts have specific terms regarding the future breeding of animals. Legal requirements vary from state to state. It is always a good idea to consult a legal professional to review contracts when making large purchases.
Sellers should establish the price and form of payment before the date of the purchase. Animals are a significant financial investment, so make sure payment is made through a secure means, and you maintain a receipt of payment for your records.
5. Getting the Animal Home
Before making your purchase, you should consider how you will get the animal home. Many sellers deal with animal transport frequently and can make recommendations based on their own experience. It is always a good idea to do your own research and verify the credentials of the animal transporter. Hauling Buddies is an excellent resource for doing this. The website provides a unique platform to verify the credentials of transportation companies and offers other resources to guide you through the transport process.
Preparing your home or farm for a new animal is another key step. New animals can introduce new illnesses and diseases to your existing animals. Quarantining new animals is highly recommended by veterinary professionals. Talk to your veterinarian to determine what health and safety precautions are necessary for your facility. For livestock and horses, this may mean keeping new animals in separate barns or pastures. For household pets, new animals should be kept in a separate part of the house during the quarantine period. Quarantined animals should be fed and handled after all other animals on the property to prevent any cross-contamination of feed or equipment.