Do you want to support puppy mills? If your answer is no, then don’t buy a puppy from a pet store. According to the ASPCA, HSUS and other humane organizations, the main suppliers for pet store pups are puppy mills. If you need a refresher about how bad puppy mills are, then visit the ASPCA site, nopetstorepuppies.com, for more information.
What if the owners claim that their puppies come from humane, respected breeders. My answer is no conscientious breeder who has the best interest of his puppies in mind would ever sell to a store. Puppies are just cash crops for any breeder who routinely ships puppies off to pet stores. The ideal situation for the puppy is to go directly from the breeder’s home to the adopting family’s home. Placing a store in between creates inevitable risks for the puppy:
Infection: Stress depresses the immune system. Suddenly changing the pup’s physical and social environments causes significant stress. Bringing individual puppies in from a variety of environments increases the likelihood that dangerous viruses or bacteria will be brought into the store. High stress, young animals and viruses – a risky combination. If the breeders are truly interested in a young puppy’s welfare, why would they take the risk?
Socialization issues: The critical period for socialization for dogs is between four and twelve weeks of age. Smack in the middle of this period is when most pups are shipped off to stores. This is the period when the pup should be in a calm environment, learning to trust humans. Not the time to be repeatedly picked by a series of strangers in a strange environment, who may not even know how to properly handle the pup. Puppies not sold immediately may end up spending most of the sensitive socialization period in a cage throughout the day and night with limited human contact. Pups that don’t receive adequate social exposure in the early months of life may never recover and remain cautious, non-trusting and socially fearful throughout their lives.
Housetraining failures: Puppies that are forced to eliminate on their bedding in a small enclosure for weeks or months at a time can be a real challenge to train. Housetraining is basically surface and location discrimination training. The strategy is to control the puppy’s feeding schedule and manage the pup in the environment at home, so that it only has the opportunity to eliminate in the yard on grass until that is naturally where the pet wants to go. Puppies that start eliminating on fabric surfaces may always want to eliminate on fabric, carpets, etc. Dogs that don’t get housetrained run the risk of being mistreated or taken to shelters. Shouldn’t the breeder care about that?
Genetic problems: Reputable breeders are knowledgeable about potential genetic problems in the breed. They follow the dogs they adopt out and request feedback on any problems so they do not rebreed dogs that have genetic problems. That is unlikely to happen with pups sold through pet stores.
Please take this important information into consideration the next time you’re ready to adopt, and educate your friends who are not knowledgeable about the perils of puppy mills and pups that are sold in stores. Adopt from a shelter or directly from a breeder because buying from a store supports the puppy mill trade.