Beware When Buying A Pet

Making sure your pet does not come from inhumane puppy mills.

Want to know the best and worst place to adopt a dog? Adopting a puppy from a puppy mill tops the worst place to adopt a dog. If you buy your dog from a pet store or online there is a very high chance it came from a puppy mill. What is a puppy mill exactly? If more people actually knew where and how their puppy mill dogs came to be, they would change their minds and stop buying dogs that came from puppy mills. If we instead adopted our dogs from shelters and rescue organizations we would be doing more than saving the life of a dog in need. Puppy mills are extremely inhumane and it is quite shocking we allow them to run.

Most people do not realize the dog they are buying comes from a puppy mill. Dogs aren’t the only animals that come from “mills”. Unfortunately many malls and shopping centers have pet store chains which get the animals they sell from animal mills, because they sell animals in large quantities. A puppy mill is an inhumane place where hundreds of dogs are kept in small rabbit-like wire fences with wire flooring. The dogs are dirty, covered in urine and feces, large patches of their fur missing, and skin covered with sores. Several dogs are kept in each small cage and the adult dogs do not even know how to walk because they never have been out of the cage! They spend up to 10 years or more in these tiny cages together with no medical care. The females are forced to breed every cycle producing hundreds of puppies each. The females are covered in tumors from over breeding. When the dog can no longer reproduce they are shot and killed. Some of the dogs have had a long tube hammered down their throat to damage their vocal chords so they cannot bark. The dogs are not socialized and have never had a human pet them. Many have chains on their necks that are so tight their bloody skin has grown through the chain.

Once these breeding dogs have their puppies the puppy mill owners take the puppies, clean them, fluff them up and make them look cute for us to adopt. If you knew this cute puppies mother was suffering for years in a cage to produce this puppy would you want to finance this operation by buying it or would you want to do what you could to shut it down? If you buy a puppy that originates from this kind of place you are not only financing mistreatment of animals but you may well end up with an animal that has major health problems, even if they don’t manifest themselves right away. These puppy mill dogs may be cute on the outside but they are over bred, which can cause major behavioral and physical problems that can end up costing you a lot of money and suffering down the road.

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How can you know if a dog came from a puppy mill or a reputable breeder? If you still want to buy a dog then please only do it from a breeder where you can actually visit their location and see the condition of the mother and other dogs. If you buy from a breeder online where you cannot physically visit the area there is a good chance it is coming from a puppy mill. A good breeder will even take back a dog years later if needed rather than seeing it end up in a shelter. A reputable breeder also has extremely extensive adoption procedures because they want the adoption to be the best possible match. You get what you pay for too; so do not be fooled by a discount breeder.

If you are uncertain about buying a dog from an online breeder, or a pet store, there is always the option to “adopt or rescue” a pet from a local animal shelter. Shelters and rescue organizations are the new "in" thing and are plentiful in most places  and can be found in your phone book. Your Veterinarian can also provide information on where you can adopt a pet that needs a good home. People are educating themselves and realizing that there are so many really great dogs to adopt right in their local animal shelter or rescue organization! You can find a good variety of breeds in animal shelters; even and purebred dogs too.  Americans are learning that most dogs in shelters and rescue groups are actually really great dogs, which would make wonderful family companions. Mixed bred dogs are often healthier too, getting the best traits out of the mix of their breeds, plus you could have a unique dog like no one else.

Slowly we are abandoning the myth that all shelter dogs are there because of some behavioral problem. The truth is that most are there because of a mismatch in their past home not because there is something wrong with them. Also, oftentimes people adopt a cute puppy only to realize they didn't know how hard it was to raise a puppy and it ends up at the shelter. Another good thing about adopting a dog from a shelter is that they may already be house-trained and/or leash trained for walking, saving the new owner the task of training the animal, giving them the opportunity to spend less time teaching and more time enjoying and loving their new pet companion.

Remember to take your new pet to your veterinarian for a complete checkup to make sure your pet gets a healthy start. It’s also important to have your dog spayed or neutered to prevent overpopulation. In some instances, spaying or neutering your dog may make him calmer, if he is one of the more hyper-high-strung breeds.

So, if you’re considering a new pet for the family, be sure to check the background and history of the pet you’re looking to purchase. If we educate ourselves and take extra time and care in choosing our pet companions, and where get them; they will return that care to us over and over again, and hopefully for many years to come.

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