So you bought a puppy…

So you bought a puppy from a pet store…

Congratulations on your new family member! Let’s make sure you have everything on the “new puppy checklist”.

  • Puppy Food
  • Water/Food Dish
  • Age appropriate toys
  • Kennel
  • Puppy Training pads
  • Leash/Collar
  • A VERY good Veterinarian.

Did I forget to mention that the puppy you bought came from a puppy mill? And the last thing on that list will be the first number on your speed dial in the future? 99% of all pet shop (and online) puppies come from puppy mills. If you have never heard of a puppy mill, please read more here:  How much is that doggie in the window? .

I know, I know, their puppies are different. Their puppies don’t come from puppy mills, but from wonderful local breeders– “Outstanding Citizens”, in fact. Let me ask you one question… Do you believe your car salesman too? That is the connection here, both are just trying to make a quick buck.

The reality is that no responsible breeder would ever place one of their puppies in a pet shop. If you truly care about the dogs that you are breeding, then you want to know exactly where the puppies are going! You wouldn’t just sell them to the first person with $400.  Any breeder who has placed a puppy in a pet shop has immediately disqualified himself as  “responsible”. Before I get too far in to this, I want to share my definition of a puppy mill. Puppy Mill- A commercialized breeder (or breeding facility in general) that values their profit over the welfare of their dogs.

Why is this, do you ask?

Because, as a commercial establishment, pet shops are legally required to sell a puppy to anyone who can pay. Legally, they are not allowed to “screen” buyers for suitability, because they are a store and not a rescue/shelter! Let me ask you, if you raised puppies, would you want to know exactly where they were going to spend their lives? Wouldn’t you want to know if they were in the right home– their forever home? Exactly… Any RESPONSIBLE breeder wouldn’t be able to sleep at night wondering where their puppies went.

But the  pet store says…

We buy our puppies from ONE responsible breeder.”

Yes, the employees are told to say that.  But virtually every pet store puppy comes from commercial breeders (puppy mills), no matter what the employees say. Do you think the store owner takes each and every employee to the breeders house and gives them a tour? I highly doubt it.  

“Our breeder is USDA-licensed.”

This is a huge red flag. If the breeder is USDA licensed, then it means they are allowed to breed as many dogs as they want AND sell to pet stores. Oh, and if you don’t know– USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. AGRICULTURE! Their business is farming and livestock. What do they know about dogs?A USDA license is not something that should reassure you. On the contrary, it is warning sign that a breeder is cranking out lots of puppies. One more thing to be weary of… Designer Dogs. They ARE NOT AKC recognized breeds. You are likely paying way too much for a mixed breed dog. Read more about Designer Dogs = Expensive Mutts.

“We have a health guarantee on each puppy!”
Ah, yes… The comforting pet store guarantee. This reassuring statement is how pet shops and puppy mills are able to get around testing the breeding dogs for genetic defects. Oh yes, if you are a Instead of preventing these diseases in the first place by requiring the breeders to do genetic health tests on every parent dog used for breeding, the pet shop offers to replace your unhealthy puppy. And why do they do it this way?
  • First, they are almost certain on you becoming attached to the puppy that you have had for weeks. Why would you want to return your new family member. They know that most of us  would keep a sick puppy and pay the  thousand of dollars in vet bills and endure the heartbreaking months (or years)  nursing it back to health.
  • Second, many genetic health problems don’t show up for months or years. Either the guarantee has expired by then, or you (and your children) would never dream of giving the dog that has been in your life for that long. The health problems that I am talking about are inherited. If your puppy has inherited those genes, these health problems WILL show up eventually, long after you’ve brought the puppy home and fallen in love with it. Most health tests can determine (with 100% accuracy) whether a puppy has inherited a serious health problem. The other tests that can predict the risk. Responsible breeders do these tests. Breeders who sell to pet stores don’t. Why is this? Because it is too expensive to test the 350 dogs on your property for genetic defects! Why not just refund the money IF the dog is returned!

My honest opinion is that you need to IGNORE everything pet stores tell you.  Don’t be gullible. Would you buy a car without looking under the engine? No… Then don’t buy a dog without insisting to see the parents (and their health records)! This whole thing is a giant scheme to get your money, and guess what– it works!  See my experience with a local pet shop/ puppy mill connection: Dyvigs Pet Shoppe, Ames, Iowa.

Finally, the main disadvantage of buying a pet store puppy is . . .

You’re supporting the worst kind of industry. Think about it. In what other line of work can 2 animals make you over $5000 a year, while requiring little to no care? Think about it… Farmers (in a sense) have to care for their livestock. They cows and pigs need to be plump for the sale. But the parent dogs do not require this. No matter how much you abuse them, starve them, deny them vet care- their puppies will still come out fluffy and adorable.

Sure, you’ve emptied one cage – but there is another puppy just waiting to take its place. That is why it is a puppy mill, they are able to constantly churn out puppies to keep the pet store stocked up! Even if you are lucky and your puppy turns out okay, a large percentage of the others will not, and YOU helped provide the incentive for them to be born by buying the one who came before them. Not to mention, those parent dogs are still suffering. They will never be able to step outside of their cage. They will never feel love. They will never be pet. They will be bred until they die (or are killed).

Because of purchases like these, you are adding to:

  • The misery of female dogs who spend their lives in a cage, being bred again and again so people will have that “quick and convenient”.
  • The misery of future puppies born with inherited health problems.
  • The misery of your own family who have to cope with all the health and temperament problems.
  • The misery of Rescues and Shelters who have to deal with all the pet store puppies dumped on their doorstep when frustrated families give up on them.

*If you recently purchased a puppy from a pet store or a breeder and it is sick, please contact me! I will put you in touch with the right people. It might not just be your dog… Please speak up and be the voice for your pet!* It is my firm belief that Shelter dogs aren’t broken! and you should always choose to adopt instead of shop!

I want to leave you with this thought… When you adopt, the adoption fee goes straight back to the dogs for vet costs, food, and toys…. Where does the money go when you buy from a pet store?  




Please also visit if you are interested in ANY BREED of dog and also our facebook page for updates and more info about puppy mills.