The Truth About Pet Store Puppies

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The Truth About Pet Store Puppies

by Daniel Collinsworth

We've all seen those adorable furry faces pressed up against a pet store window, and felt moved by the desire to "rescue" one of the lonesome pups. Perhaps you've decided you want a dog of your own and you're considering going to the local pet store to find the perfect one. As tempting as this may be, you should know that by getting your puppy from the pet store you are supporting a cruel, unethical industry ? known as "puppy mills".

What is a Puppy Mill?

This is the name generally given to a mass dog-breeding facility where little or no regard is given to the animals themselves. The facilities exist only to breed and sell as many puppies as possible, usually to pet stores (even the big pet retail chains) but also to individuals through the internet and newspaper ads. Puppy mills frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, and the documented problems of puppy mills include overbreeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of socialization with humans, overcrowded cages, and the killing of unwanted animals.

Sadly, some dogs are forced to live in puppy mills for their entire lives. They are kept there for one reason only: to produce more puppies. They are bred repeatedly without the hope of ever having a family of their own, and are killed or sold once their reproductive capacity wanes.

Careless Breeding Means Problematic Puppies

Puppy mill dogs frequently face an array of immediate problems, which become the owner's responsibility. These problems can include:

  • Poor socialization ? the puppy might act fearful or out of control around humans and other dogs
  • Bad habits ? living in a filthy environment might cause a puppy to develop the habit of eating his own feces, or have housetraining issues
  • Anxiety and other neurotic disorders ? the trauma of being taken from their mothers before they are weaned or living most of their life separated from contact with other dogs or humans can cause a puppy to develop severe mental and behavioral issues
  • Poor genetic stock ? because puppy mills generally don't care about producing puppies of high genetic quality like a reputable breeder would, many puppies can develop serious physical ailments as they grow older, requiring lots of expensive veterinary treatment and care throughout their life.

Because many people don't foresee these problems when they buy a puppy from a pet store, the puppies often end up in shelters, euthanized, or even abandoned on the streets. Many people would just rather not deal with a dog that has problems. They don't think about how the dog must feel being abandoned by his own family! Especially if this poor dog already has abandonment issues from life in the puppy mill.

"But I would never do that to my dog!" you might say. But as long as you buy your dog from a pet store, you are fueling an industry where this sort of thing DOES happen, and it happens OFTEN. Puppy mills will only go out of business when people stop buying from pet stores.

Breeders, Shelters and Rescue Groups

The best place to get a dog is from a reputable breeder. A good breeder goes to the utmost lengths the ensure superior care and living conditions for both the mother and the puppies; good genetic stock; and proper weaning, socialization and veterinary care for the puppies. A good breeder will also be very selective in whom they sell their puppies to. They'll ask lots of questions and even request to visit the customer's home, so they can be sure that the puppies will live in a good, loving environment.

If this option is too expensive for your budget, there are plenty of puppies and dogs looking for a home and a loving family through shelters and rescue groups. You can find them online or in your phone book.

If enough people resist the temptation of buying a pet store puppy, puppy mills will no longer be profitable and will shut down, one by one. Be a part of the solution and don't buy a pet store puppy!

Daniel Collinsworth More dog training articles can be found here: Dog Training Basics

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