Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world according to the RSPCA, with over 29 million pets across households in Australia. In fact, if you don’t own a pet, you’re actually in the minority! Dogs are undoubtedly most Aussies’ favourite pets, with 60% of pet owners enjoying this particular species as their beloved pet. Having such a strong fondness for animals, most Australians (60%) thankfully view their pets as members of the family and enjoy their companionship – which means we do love to keep them around. Despite this, many pets are let down by owners that are not ready for the responsibility of pet ownership. This leads to many pets ending up in shelters and needing adoption.
Over 2019, over 75% of dogs were rehomed or reclaimed from the RSPCA and over 65% of cats were as well; this shows a 3–24% decrease from the previous year. Ultimately, statistics show that many Australians are choosing to shop rather than adopt, which leaves many pets in shelters that have to potentially face euthanasia.
Adopting a pet is a wonderful thing to do as it gives animals a second chance; however, we understand that it’s not the best option for everyone. If you’re tossing up whether to shop or adopt a pet, we are here to show you some of the pros and cons to both, to help you in making your decision. Read on to learn more about the difference between adopting a pet and purchasing one from a pet shop or a breeder.
What is the Difference Between Rescue & Pedigree Pets?
A rescue pet is an animal that’s been placed in a shelter or rescue home after being abused, neglected or abandoned by its previous owner. On the other hand, a pedigree pet is an animal with ancestors that are known and have been recorded; an animal is considered to have a good pedigree when all its known ancestors are of the same type. Pedigree also means a pet has purebred parents of the same breed. Rescue pets often don’t come with records, so for those looking for a purebred, it’s rare to find one at a shelter. If the pet breed is not an issue, however, there are many interesting and diverse breeds around rescue homes and shelters.
Sometimes animal breed is important for pet owners, and not just for indulgent reasons or due to a profession (some animal trainers require purebreds for competitions). Certain breeds work for certain individuals or family dynamics due to their temperament and health conditions (for example, dog owners with allergies often opt for poodles as they don’t shed as much dander). Overall, while breed may seem insignificant for some as every dog should go to a loving home, it certainly is something to consider.
Rescue Pets: The Pros and Cons
The main stigma surrounding the adoption of rescue pets relates to perceptions that they’re unpredictable and come with behavioural issues; this is largely a myth. Many pets are surrendered to shelters due to changes in family circumstances. The truth is that many pets in shelters have had some training and have been house-broken. The professionals at the shelter or home can provide you with additional information about the pet’s background to help you build a better understanding of the animal and whether they are right for you.
Adoption can be a life-changing experience, for you and certainly for the pet. Every animal deserves a loving family and there are plenty of pets needing adoption. If you’re considering adopting a pet, know that you’re doing something wonderful and kind, and you’ll find the process incredibly rewarding. That being said, while there are many misconceptions about rescue pets, there are some reasons why they may not work for you or your household – we explore these below; but first, let’s look at some pros.
Pros of Adoption
- You’re saving two lives. The life of the pet you’re adopting and other pet that can now be placed in the shelter for care.
- Most pets have their vetting already completed (e.g. microchip and spay/neuter).
- Adopting from a rescue group means that information is often available about a pet’s personality. This means no surprises when bringing a pet home!
- Rescue pets are often already trained (e.g. potty-trained) saving time.
- Private rescue groups will generally take a pet back if it’s not a good match.
- Mixed breed pets tend to have less inherited genetic health problems.
- Adoption costs/fees are significantly lower than purchasing a pet from a breeder. This can save you thousands!
- The love and gratitude you’ll receive are unlike any other!
- Millions of animals are euthanised in shelters each year. When you adopt, you’re giving a pet a second chance at a new, healthy life and happy home.
- Responsible shelters provide plenty of care information, support, temperament evaluation, and more. Also, because the shelter workers have been spending a lot of time with the pet, they often get to know the animal better.
- You can feel good knowing you’re contributing to and supporting a process that supports the welfare and management of stray animals
- Around 40,000 dogs are abandoned to shelters annually in Australia and more are sadly euthanised.
- Most rescue groups ensure all dogs they receive are fully vaccinated, desexed, wormed and microchipped (all-inclusive in the adoption fee).
- Countless studies have shown that there are mental and physical benefits to adopting a pet
- It helps break the cycle of pet overpopulation. There are not enough homes for all the animals born every year.
Cons or Challenges
- Uncertainty towards how the animal may behave at home. There is a possibility they may turn out different than expected and act differently to how they appeared at the shelter. This is why it’s important to pick correctly by consulting the shelter staff.
- There may be a limited choice or you may struggle or be unable to find the exact breed you want (if you are looking for a certain breed or type). If you’re needing a certain breed or type of pet and you’re certain you want to adopt, then you may need to patiently wait for your ideal pet to (sadly) be in need of adoption – this does mean that if you’re after immediate adoption, you may not be able to get the exact animal you’re after.
- In general, you may not be able to adopt immediately. Shelters often adhere to waiting periods to avoid you rushing into decisions, and so owners have time to reclaim incoming animals that may be lost.
- Adopting requires answering a lot of personal questions and submission of paperwork
- Some pets have special needs. This is something you must consider whether willing to deal with these!
- Lastly, there is always a chance you may be rejected for pet adoption if you fail to meet the organisation’s requirements.
Pedigree Pets: The Pros and Cons
Pros of Buying From a Breeder or Shop
- Reputable breeders provide genetic health testing, ensuring the pet is not likely to carry any inherited genetic problems.
- You have the opportunity to visit the pet beforehand to have a play before taking them home
- There is greater information available regarding the breed, to ensure they are the perfect fit for family and household.
- Knowledge of pedigree comes with health clearances and assurances. Without this knowledge, you do not know what your pet could have in its lines, what it could develop later in life, or what it could pass on (if you decide to breed).
- The traits of the pet (e.g. temperament, behaviour and health risks) are very predictable allowing you to choose a breed based on your preferences.
- The size, coat type, and mature appearance and behaviour are more predictable.
- Information and guidance regarding how to care for pedigree breeds more readily available for specific breeds.
Cons or Challenges
- Typically, adopted dogs are well past the puppy stage. Getting a pedigree pup requires a lot of work (e.g. cleaning up accidents, whining, chewing).
- You are responsible for the training. Untrained puppies quickly grow into out-of-control dogs! (Less relevant for kittens or other animals).
- Pets purchased from a breeder can be extremely expensive (more than mixed breed dogs, although these are still quite expensive). The cost can be over $5000 to buy some types of dogs from breeders, plus vetting bills which are often needed for checks. The price varies based on breed.
- Many breeds have hereditary diseases that are usually associated with desired physical traits, caused by years of selective breeding and reduced genetic diversity (for example, french bulldogs and other selective breeds have been known to have respiratory issues). It is important you research breeds and are aware of such diseases.
- Finally, these associated hereditary diseases mean vet bills are often more expensive too.
Adopt or Shop?
Ultimately deciding on whether to adopt from a rescue home or shop from a breeder is a very personal choice. You must weigh up the pros and cons of each to make an informed and educated choice as to which type is best suited to your lifestyle. Whichever you choose, just know that you are entering a very special time in your life where you will have a very special companion that you will share a lot of beautiful memories with.
Are you considering getting a new pet (rescue or pedigree) after the loss of a recent pet? Check if you’re really ready for this next step by reading our recent article on getting a new pet after the loss of a previous pet.
If you’re looking to farewell your beloved pet in a meaningful way with an emotional tribute, consider planning a touching memorial service for them with Pets in Peace, a prestigious provider in pet aftercare. We specialise in aftercare services for animals of all kinds and sizes, giving them a farewell that is dignified and respectful. Enquire about our services today.