Did you know that in Western Australia, a puppy or kitten has the same legal protection as a fridge or TV? That is, if you buy a puppy or kitten that is unwell or has a major health issue, it is a “warranty” issue.

Of course, pets are not a simple household item which you can easily replace. You get attached to them very quickly, and you feel a huge amount of responsibility for them.

Under Australian consumer law, the following applies:

When you buy a pet from a pet shop or professional breeder, it automatically comes with the following ‘consumer guarantees’ to make sure you get what you paid for:

  • Acceptable quality – your pet should be healthy and have no undisclosed injuries or diseases that may reduce the length of its life, other than those commonly associated with some breeds.
  • Fit for any specified purpose – the seller guarantees that your pet will be suitable for any purpose they told you about, or which you discussed with the seller. In other words, you relied on the seller’s knowledge when deciding whether a certain pet would be suitable. For example, if you asked for a dog that was good with children but ended up with one that was aggressive and intolerant of children, it would not be ‘fit for purpose.’

The remedy you’re entitled to will depend on whether the problem is major or minor. A major problem is one that would have stopped you from buying the pet if you’d known about it, such as a serious or terminal health issue.  In this case, you have the right to choose which remedy the seller will provide.

This will either be to:

  • have the problem fixed, such as veterinary treatment and/or medication;
  • exchange your pet for another one; or
  • return your pet for a refund.

For minor problems, the seller can choose which remedy they will provide. You should attempt to negotiate an outcome that you both agree to, but if a disagreement continues, Consumer Protection can provide advice and assistance.

Free New Puppy and Kitten Checks

We recommend having your new puppy or kitten checked within 48 hours of acquiring them. This means that any health issues they may have are identified early, which can help with any claims against breeders. Over the past few years we have seen puppies with major health issues such as heart defects, severe airway disease, and major joint issues. In some cases, the breeders were aware of the problem but failed to inform the person purchasing the puppy. By finding these issues early, we were able to treat these animals early, and in most cases the breeder either paid for the treatment or refunded the purchase price.

By giving your pet a clean bill of health, we can also help them be fully covered by any pet insurance policies. For example, we can provide a certificate for Trupanion pet insurance which will give you 30 days free cover without any waiting periods, and if they have no health problems your pet won’t have any exclusions on their policy based on “pre-existing conditions”.

These free puppy and kitten checks also gives you a chance to ask one of our vets any questions you might have about training, feeding, routine health care, or anything else you need to know. It really helps your pet get off to a great start.

To make an appointment for a free puppy check, please call us on 97215999 (Bunbury) or 97250399 (Eaton), or book online at www.bunburyvets.com.au