Where to Get Your Dog

The Resource for Everything About Dogs


Where to Get Your Dog

by Tom Bartholomew



Where are They and What?s the Difference

There are many ways you can acquire a new puppy or dog and some methods are definitely better than others. Puppy mills, shelters, pet stores, and dog breeders are the most common sources of new pets for most people. Carefully examine the nature of each of these venues before buying a dog.

Puppy Mills

The term ?puppy mill? refers to any breeding facility that will breed dogs only for profit. Little attention is paid to the animals and the breed standards are not held up to par. In the worst of the puppy mills, dogs are stacked up in cages, are underfeed and given very little medical care. The dogs are continually bred, heat cycle after heat cycle, giving the female dog hardly any time to recover before she is impregnated once again. The conditions in the puppy mills that these dogs are kept and bred often produce dogs with minor to major medical and behavioral problems. Not all puppy mills are large facilities. Even the ?backyard breeder? who breeds dogs only for profit and not for the well being of the breed, is considered by many to be a puppy mill. The prices you?ll pay to a puppy mill may be less than what you would have paid for a dog from a reputable breeder, but you may end up paying more in the long run. Dogs from puppy mills are usually plagued with medical problems (resulting from a lack of proper medical care and malnutrition) that require an excessive amount of medical exams, shots and medication.

Shelters

If breed dosen?t matter and you are simply looking for a companion animal, your local animal shelter is a great place to begin your search. Dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes are available. Many shelters allow you to play with a dog and spend some time with it before you make the final decision as to whether or not you want to adopt it ? they want to make sure the fit is just right! For an adoption fee, you?ll get a dog that has been fixed, vaccinated and injected with a microchip.

Pet Stores

No trip to the mall would be complete without scoping the pet store, right? All of those cute little puppies so excited to see you! It?s a miracle that anyone ever makes it out of a pet store without taking one of those cuties home. The animals from a pet store might appear to be well cared for and the store?s staff may vouch for the health and quality of the animals, but the truth is usually something entirely different. The only source of dogs for today?s pet store is the puppy mill. No reputable breeder would allow his or her dog to be displayed and sold in such a manner, so what other kind of breeder is left?

Breeders

Reputable breeders are the best option if you?re looking for a purebred puppy. A reputable breeder is one who works for the benefit of the breed, not for profit and who cares where his or her puppies end up. Expect to be questioned about your plans for the dog and don?t be surprised if, after a conversation or two, the breeder decides that your home would not be the best one for their dog. If you are approved by the breeder, you will probably have to sign some sort of contract in which you agree to: immediately spay or neuter a dog bought for companion purposes only; notify the breeder of any medical conditions that the dog develops; notify the breeder if you have to get rid of the dog so that he or she can find it a new home; and, breed your dog (if that?s why you?re buying it) in accordance with breed standards. The actual contract might include other stipulations as well. This may seem a bit stringent, but the breeder is only trying to ensure the health and well-being of the animal. A pet you buy from a responsible, reputable breeder can be very expensive, but you?ll know that your new addition to the family is as healthy as he can be and free of genetic defects. Where do you find a reputable breeder? Once you decide on the breed that?s right for you, check with the relevant local and national breed clubs. They will be able to recommend a breeder in your area.

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