QUEStion: What vet care do your animals receive?
All animals must receive a veterinary exam prior to going to their new home. In Nova Scotia, if you are purchasing a pet the seller is required by law to provide you with a Veterinary Certificate of Health. This is a very specific document that can only be obtained at a vet clinic and will be signed by a licensed veterinarian.
Initial vaccines should be given before the pet goes home by the provider. It is important to note that further vaccines will likely be required as one vaccine is not sufficient protection against future diseases, and there are various types of vaccines that may be needed.
Rescues or shelters should be providing a pet already spayed or neutered, or have an agreement that you must get your pet fixed at a certain age. Breeders should similarly have a set agreement with the new owner and usually sell pets with a non-breeding contract.
Breeders should be able to provide veterinary care information on the parents of the litter, as well as temperament information. A reputable breeder will likely be able to provide you with an extensive medical history.
question: How do you assess the temperament of the animals?
Ask the shelter or rescue what processes or evaluations they use to assess the temperament of animals in their care. It is important to note these evaluations should be done not upon the animal’s first arrival, but once the pet has settled into their care, or periodically during the pet’s stay. Also important, this is an assessment of the animal’s behaviour observed at the time in that environment, and behaviour may change, evolve or disappear or new behaviours may become apparent once the animal is adopted into a new home. Even if the pet is in a foster home, that may not mirror your home environment and there may still be new challenges or situations to which the animal has not been exposed.
Behavioural assessment information, and any behavioural history should be disclosed to you. Evaluations should assess the degree of any behavioural concerns, like food guarding, behaviour around other animals and various people unfamiliar to the pet. If there are any behavioural concerns observed by the staff or volunteers, the organization should provide potential adopters information on how to help the animal thrive in their new environment, such as how to build trust with the animal and training recommendations.
For a breeder, the behavioural evaluations of the parents should have been considered in breeding. Ask about the temperament of the parents and about the process used to socialize the litter before going to their new homes. Natural tendencies like playfulness, energy levels and calmness of temperament will allow a breeder to make the best match between each animal and their prospective families.