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Updated: 02/13/2014 03:49:31PM

Adopting or purchasing a new pet

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Dr. Ashley Lab


For the sale of dog or cat in the state of Florida a health certificate is required.


The SPCA is one local place to adopt a pet. Here, Sunflower can be adopted for $100. The agency takes in pets that have been abandoned by those who can no longer take care of the pet or are found loose. They train them and get them ready for adoption. Here Sunflower is with her foster mom, Veronica Vega.

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Whether you have been keeping your eye open for the perfect pet for a while, or out of the blue you stumble upon a pet that you know will be perfect for your home, there are several things you should consider before bringing that pet home.

You want to take precautions to try and bring home a healthy pet, as well as making sure the pet is the right fit for your home.

Factors to consider when selecting a species of pet include time, responsibility, space and finances. Who is going to be responsible for feeding, cleaning, exercising and playing? If a child is responsible for feeding and cleaning, an adult should be supervising this until the pattern is established. It is important to do some research on the type of pet being considered. The husbandry, including environment, diet and lifestyle, varies greatly from species to species. A bearded dragon has very different requirements from a hamster. Dogs also vary in their needs from exercise requirements, to grooming, to health care and more. Puppies and kittens can be an initial strain on the pocketbook as they require a series of vaccinations and spaying or neutering.

So, you’ve selected the appropriate type of pet for your home, now where do you go to find that pet? Shelters, breeders, rescue organizations, pet stores and the Internet are all common places to look.

All can provide you with a happy healthy pet, but takes a little research on your behalf. For the sale of dog or cat in the state of Florida a health certificate is required. This is your most important piece of security. This indicates that the pet has been examined by a veterinarian accredited by the USDA within the last 30 days. It is also an official documentation of vaccination performed by the veterinarian. If purchasing a pet from a breeder or adopting a “free to good home” pet also take the time to look at the environment the pet is in. Be sure that the animals have plenty of fresh, clean water, there is no overpowering odor, they are not overcrowded and they are housed in a clean, dry, safe location.

When looking at an animal there are several external features that can indicate their overall health. No matter the species, the eyes and nose should be free of debris or discharge. Kittens and puppies do sleep a good deal, but when stimulated they should want to play and interact. Birds should be perching with head held high and eyes wide open. Reptiles are a little tougher to assess, but signs of stress can include color changes, incomplete shedding and open mouth breathing. And fish, I’m no expert, but they should not be floating on their side at the top.

Before bringing a new pet into your home take the time to make sure it is an appropriate fit. And do not be afraid to ask questions and look around at the environment and all of the animals.

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