Saturday, July 21 is No Pet Store Puppies Day! This holiday provides us with a great opportunity to remind friends and family of the issues related to purchasing puppies from pet stores. To celebrate we have have put together a list of reasons why people shouldn't buy puppies from pet shops, but should instead should consider adopting a from a shelter or working directly with a responsible breeder.
1. A Responsible and Ethical Breeder Would Not Send Their Puppies to a Pet Store
Puppies in pet stores are often separated from their mother much earlier than they should be. Pet stores will do this because they know their customers will think younger puppies are cuter and will be more likely to buy them. Responsible breeders will want to keep the puppies until they are closer to 8 weeks old and won't want their puppies to be kept in small cages with such little socialization. Good breeders will also want to meet the owners of their puppies to ensure they are going to the right homes.
3. You are Not Rescuing Them
Most puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. It's very common for people to view purchasing a puppy from a pet store as rescuing them from poor conditions, but this is not true. In most cases when a puppy is bought in a pet shop, the money is going to a puppy mill. While you are providing a home for the puppy you purchased, you are also most likely keeping a puppy mill in business and allowing them to keep other puppies and their parents in horrendous conditions. The pet store might also tell you that the puppy comes from a "licensed breeder." This does not mean that the puppy is from a responsible or ethical breeder. All it means is that the breeder has completed the necessary paperwork that allows them to operate as a business.
4. They are More Likely to Have Behavioral and Psychological Problems
In 2011, a study from the University of Pennsylvania found that puppies from puppy mills were more likely to have behavioral and psychological problems than dogs that weren't. These dogs showed greater tendencies of aggression towards their owners and other dogs, and were more likely to attempt to escape and run away. It is believed that these behaviors are a result of their limited socialization as puppies, and the stress their mothers went through while pregnant.
5. House Training Can be More Difficult
Because these puppies have been kept in small cages they have always had to defecate close to where they sleep and eat. This behavior makes house training even more difficult and stressful for you and the puppy than it normally is. They will eventually learn, but it will likely take longer.
6. Poor Socialization
Pet store puppies are often taken away from their mothers when they are too young. Then they are kept in cages where they receive very little socialization and are not exposed to many situations that normal puppies are. Often times this isolation results in puppies that grow up to be very fearful, timid dogs and in many cases they are also more difficult to train.
8. Can't Meet the Puppy's Parents
It can be difficult to know the exact breed of a puppy, and there is a chance you might not get what you paid for. You might pay for a purebred puppy, but find as it grows that it is a mutt. This is in no way a bad thing, but it's not what you were told you bought. There really is no way to guarantee you have purchased a purebred dog, if this is what you're after. Pedigrees and paperwork are often faked. Meeting the puppy's parents also provides a pretty good indicator of how your puppy will behave and look as an adult.
9. Parents are Not Tested for Genetic Health Problems
Puppy mills prioritize quantity over quality, and try to keep their costs at a minimum. This means that their dogs receive minimal vet care, if any at all. The parents are not tested for health issues that might be passed down to their puppies, which results in puppies that are more likely to have health issues including, hip and elbow dysplasia and heart disease.
10. There are Millions of Shelter Dogs Needing Homes
Last, but certainly not least, there are millions of dogs and cats in shelters waiting for their forever homes. By adopting a pet through a shelter you not only help your new pet, but you also create space for the shelter to help another animal in need. For more information about how to find a good rescue group or how to adopt a shelter pet visit The Shelter Pet Project.