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Six Things Pet Shops Won’t Tell You

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 24/03/2018 Reader's Digest
a dog sitting on a counter: Six Things Pet Shops Won’t Tell You © iStock Six Things Pet Shops Won’t Tell You

From hidden costs to hidden diseases, there are some things that shouldn't be assumed when purchasing a pet. Here's advice from the horse's mouth.

1. Costs are ongoing

a rodent in a cage: 1. Costs are ongoing © iStock 1. Costs are ongoing

That guinea pig or rabbit may be inexpensive, but there are many other costs – some of them ongoing – to consider: you will need to buy a cage, grooming tools, food, a bed and toys, and you’ll be back every month to restock. Then there are annual vet fees for the duration of your pet’s life.

2. You're gonna need a bigger cage

a dog lying in a cage: 2. You're gonna need a bigger cage © iStock 2. You're gonna need a bigger cage

Many cages and tanks in pet shops are overcrowded or smaller than is recommended, so don’t use them as a guide for the cage you buy. We justify small cages as the animals are small when we get them and don’t stay long.

3. Some pets come with hidden problems

a blue teddy bear sitting in the snow: 3. Some pets come with hidden problems © iStock 3. Some pets come with hidden problems

Don’t be surprised if the pet we sold you has parasites, a respiratory infection or a more serious disease. Animals often won’t show symptoms until you get them home. So make sure you get certificates or written proof that vet examinations and vaccinations have occurred before you buy and get your animal checked out by a vet right away.

4. Hands off at first

a person sitting on the grass: 4. Hands off at first © iStock 4. Hands off at first

Don’t handle your small animal (guinea pig, bird, etc) for a few days after you get it home. Give it time to adjust to its new environment.

5. Quantity, not quality

a cat sitting on a plate: 5. Quantity, not quality © iStock 5. Quantity, not quality

Unless your dog or cat has allergies or a medical condition, it doesn’t need a premium, high-priced pet food. If you want to ensure your pet’s long-term health, focus more on how much you feed it (and keep it at a healthy weight) and less on the label.

6. We are trying to sell pets

a man and a dog posing for the camera: 6. We are trying to sell pets © iStock 6. We are trying to sell pets

Our employees might tell you that this animal is the sweetest or the most playful, but keep in mind that most stores have sales goals. Take what the staff say with a grain of salt, and interact with the animal yourself.

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