We want to hear your opinion!

Tell us what features and improvements you would like to see on Pets4Homes. Help us by answering a short survey.

To the Survey 

Where Is The Best Place To Buy A New Pet?

When you take into account breeders, pet shops, rescue centres, individual advertisers and private sales, there is an almost infinite number of different ways to buy and sell different types of pets. If you are in the market for a new pet and are not sure where to look in order to give yourself the best chances of finding a responsible, caring seller and a healthy animal, discovering the best place to go about this can be difficult. Read on to discover some of the pros and cons of buying a pet from various different types of sellers, plus possibly a few suggestions you might not have thought of!

Pet shops

Pets such as kittens and puppies used to be commonly found in the windows of pet shops, but these days you are more likely to find fish, birds and small caged animals, as well as potentially exotic pets such as snakes and other reptiles.


A one-stop location to browse, choose and look around without any pressure. You can return multiple times to view an animal without any obligation to buy. Pet shops are a good place to compare animals and get to learn more about what you do and don’t like.


You are unlikely to be able to find out with any certainty the origins of any pet that you choose. The sales staff of the pet shop are unlikely to be experts on any particular type of pet, and so you should double-check any advice given by them as part of your decision making process. Animals in pet shops are sometimes kept in cramped and over crowded conditions, and buying from a pet shop can perpetuate the cycle of pets being bred and kept for sale in living conditions that are not optimum. Unless you place a deposit on a pet you are interested in to give you more time to decide, you may find that you have to choose to either buy an animal on the spot without time to think it through properly, or risk losing the sale.

Looking for free pet advice for your Pet?. Click here to join the UKs favourite pet community - PetForums.co.uk


Animal breeders are people who professionally breed and raise animals for sale to the public. Breeders normally deal in pedigree animals such as cats and dogs. Many pedigree pets for sale from breeders can be found here on Pets4homes.


You will usually have plenty of time to make your decision, and should not be expected to rush into a choice on the spot. You can view your potential new pet with their dam, and possibly sire. Breeders are usually highly knowledgably about the animals that they keep, and should be able to advise you in your ultimate decision and how you care for your new pet. You will normally be able to get a thorough veterinary history of the pet your are considering buying and possibly their parents, and have the opportunity to have your pet vetted. If you are looking for a show standard kitten or puppy, a breeder will usually be your only option.


Buying from a breeder is usually one of the more expensive ways to acquire your new pet. A breeder may place a range of caveats on the sale of your new pet, such as that they must be spayed or neutered and not used for breeding. You will only be able to view a very small selection of potential choices; usually just one litter.

Private sellers

Private sellers who need to re-home their pets due to their changing lifestyles may advertise their pets for sale or adoption via a wide ranges of mediums, such as online adverts and cards in shop windows.


You will be able to see the animal in its home environment and speak directly to the person that knows them best about their care and temperament. Taming, training and acclimatising the animal to being handled will usually have already been done. Buying from a private seller is usually cheaper than buying a pet from a breeder, pet shop or other commercial enterprise.


Trust forms a large element of buying a pet privately, and you may have no way of finding out for sure if any of the information given to you by the seller is accurate. You should take steps to check out the seller, and the pet that they are selling in case of the slim possibility that the pet may be stolen or being sold due to a problem with them. You will have little or no comeback if something goes wrong with the sale. You may find yourself having to re-train your pet to fit your own ideas when it is already set in its ways and used to living with a different routine.

A charity or pet shelter

Rehoming centres and animal charities are always full to the rafters with pets needing new forever homes. As well as cats and dogs, most other types of animals including birds, reptiles and small caged animals can be found across the country at different rehoming centres. While some organisations such as The Cats Protection League are species-specific, others like the RSPCA deal with any and all animals (within reason)!


A wide range of pets are available in rehoming shelters or via animal charities, and you will have an almost limitless choice if you are prepared to travel. Adopting from a charity or rehoming shelter is a very responsible way of finding a new pet, and helps to positively affect the overall welfare of pets in the UK. Rehoming centres often provide a lot of help and support to their potential adopters to help them to make a decision and care for their pet once they have taken them on. Often, health checks, vaccinations and other essentials will already have been taken care of.


You may not be able to find out any information about your future pet’s history. Sometimes shelter pets come with issues due to their past treatment, which require time and patience to iron out. You may have to undertake a process of interviewing, assessment and even a home visit in order to be approved to adopt a pet, but if you are refused an adoption, there is usually a very good reason for this. Not a ‘con’ as such, but it is important to note that shelter pets are generally not free. You will almost always be expected to make a financial donation of anything between £30 and a couple of hundred pounds to take on your new pet, both to help to cover the charity’s costs, and to prove your financial ability and commitment to caring for your pet.

Join the Conversation

Do you like this article? Have something to say? Then leave your comments.

© Copyright - Pets4Homes.co.uk (2005 - 2019) - Pet Media Ltd
Pets4Homes.co.uk use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Use of this website and other services constitutes acceptance of the Pets4Homes Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookie Policy. You can manage your cookies at any time.