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Buying a pet - General advice

Find general advice on buying a pet

What to consider when buying a pet

Buying a pet can be a very exciting time, but it can be an overwhelming decision. It's one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some pets will outlive their owners; for example, tortoises can live for over 70 years.

Think about the animal you would like, and what needs it may have. Think P-E-T-S.

P is for PLACE 

  • Do you have enough room to accommodate their needs inside or outside?
  • Is the space secure? 
  • Who else lives at the property; children, elderly, other pets?


  • How active are you? 
  • Can you provide the amount and level of exercise needed?

T is for TIME

  • How much time do you have to look after them?
  • Will they be left alone for long periods of time?
  • Do you travel regularly on holiday?
  • Have you considered their life expectancy?

S is for SPEND

  • How much money could you afford to spend on your new pet?

You need to consider the cost of:

  • food
  • equipment
  • toys
  • veterinary and preventative treatments
  • insurance

Individual pet guidance

Our buying a pet guidance will help you when visiting puppy breeders or pet shops. It will give some guidance on:

  • what to look for
  • what questions to ask
  • what to consider

We've created specific guidance depending on the type of pet you're considering buying, as follows:


From October 2018 all licensed premises are regulated under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Defra have issued guidance about the star rating system. Ratings between 1 and 5 can be achieved. The star rating system is complex and depends on:

  • whether a premises is low or high risk
  • whether higher standards are met
  • how long the premises have previously held a licence 

Further information can be found on changes to animal licensing page.