Pet ownership is a huge responsibility. Pet parents need to dedicate a large amount of time, energy and resources to ensure the well-being of their four-legged family member. Finding the right pet is a challenge in and of itself, and thanks in part to the Web, people can now search for the perfect animal online. Believe it or not, there’s even a market for buying pets online.
Before the advent of the Internet, prospective pet owners would have to seek out local breeders and organizations that sold domestic animals. Nowadays, any potential pet owner can surf the Web and find an animal that matches his or her needs and wants the best.
A quick Google search will result in a number of sites where people can look up their ZIP code or a nearby location for a specific type of animal. These platforms provide online pet shoppers the convenience and segmentation they need to find the right furry friend.
However, when searching online for a pet, one should be careful. Listed below are the do’s and don’t for buying pets online:
1. Do thorough research: A large majority of consumers will conduct research online prior to making a large purchase, so in the same vein, it is highly recommended that prospective pet owners do the same. Buyers should have specific qualities they’re looking for, including the sex of the animal, how old it is, the cost, what type of vaccinations it has already received and what shots it still needs to get. Families should also inquire about the animal’s personality if the pet is not located close to where they live, according to Tulsa, Oklahoma, NBC affiliate KJRH-TV, citing the Tulsa Humane Society. Those who pressure buyers into a transaction are ones to avoid, too. Prospective owners should communicate via telephone or in person, if possible.
2. Don’t make a knee-jerk decision: Most pet owners will likely do their thorough research before pulling the trigger, but the process of buying a pet can be an emotional one, so customers have to be careful to not make an impulsive decision. Animals are cute, fuzzy and tug at the heart strings of most, so it can be hard not to make a pet purchasing decision based on emotional merit. Buyers must complete thorough research and understand that a pet is a large financial investment beyond the initial transaction, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations advises.
3. Do understand your rights and website policies: The very thought of returning or exchanging a pet seems ludicrous, but there may be a need to do so, KJRH-TV points out. Certain individuals in the pet-selling market are labeled as “dog-flippers”, or people who buy pups for a small amount of money and try to resell them for a significantly higher margin. Similar to house flipping, its a perfectly legal – albeit, strange – form of business. That being said, prospective pet owners who choose to purchase online need to be extremely careful and fully understand the return policies and any other website practices prior to making a purchase.
4. Don’t ignore the shipping process: For interested online pet buyers, there’s the period between the transaction and the point where the new furry friend arrives on the doorstep. That time can be stressful for any young or newborn animal, so the responsibility falls on the new owner to make sure the process is quick and painless for the new pet. If owners have done the proper research, they’ll know that proper state and national animal anti-cruelty standards are being met, but those are important questions to ask the breeder prior to the purchase.
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