Getting a well raised, disciplined and disease free pet can be difficult (Photo: Courtesy)

Are you thinking about getting a pet for you or your family? Well, it is a good thing as pets afford families company, joy and liveliness.

Getting a dog or cat, or kitten or puppy, that is family friendly, well raised, disciplined, healthy and disease free is sometimes difficult. Here are some useful tips:

Consider adoption

Animal rescue and welfare organisations rescue cats and dogs that have been abused and mistreated. They then take care of them, treat their wounds and diseases, vaccinate, deworm and neuter them to control breeding.

Such organisations include Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA) and Trap Neuter and Release Trust (TNR) among others.

Such organisations normally post the pictures of the lovely animals on their social media pages and website for interested pet enthusiasts.

To get such pets, you need to pay for vaccinations and neutering costs which is about Sh10,000. You may be required to prove that you can take care of the pets.

Find a responsible breeder

Many pet lovers are very enthusiastic about a particular breed of pet. Most breeders focus on raising one breed of dog and sell them to people who love that breed. Others, may keep more than one breed for breeding.

Some elite breeders import the pure breeds from countries such as South Africa, United States, Germany and Russia. Usually the breeds imported are later trained for security, sniffer work and others end up in the military.

Other breeders source their breeding dogs locally. Responsible breeders usually register their dogs and puppies with the East African Kennel Club (EAKC) who issues them with a certificate of registration. Depending on the breed, a fully – vaccinated puppy may go for about Sh30,000 and above.

A puppy should be vaccinated against Parvovirus (at week 6 and 9), Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parvovirus and Rabies at week 12. So at week 12, a puppy is fully vaccinated. Rabies vaccination is done annually.

Avoid puppy mills

Beware of inadvertently supporting indiscriminate puppy farmers and/or scam artists that advertise on certain websites or on their own dedicated websites.

Unfortunately, there are irresponsible breeders that are more interested in making profits than in caring for their puppies’ health and welfare. Be very wary of breeders that have a wide variety of puppies available all year round and that sell “pedigreed” puppies at below average prices.

Be discerning and take great care when choosing the breeder from which you buy your puppy. Prior to parting with any money, I recommended you contact the EAKC office to verify claims made pertaining to membership or registration.

Always visit the breeder (without your kids) and view the actual living conditions of the dogs. Do not buy puppies out of pity. Responsible breeders take time before they let go of an animal. That is why you may find your name on the waiting list and have to pay a deposit.

Streets or the road side puppies

In most cases, these puppies are usually stolen or lost and found. Most at times, they are of indiscriminate breeds such as ‘Kangemi shepherds’ and a cocktail of small breeds that are sold by young boys at a throw away price of Sh3,000. They are usually hungry, thirsty and look sickly. Avoid them by all costs.

Every pet has a passport with details such as its breed, sex, age, colour, vaccination, deworming and treatment history and the details of the Vet who has been treating it. Always insist on the paper work.