April is Active Dog Month
The month of April is Active Dog Month. This month-long…
July 21st is No Pet Store Puppies Day6, a day dedicated to raising awareness about puppy mills.
In this article, we’ll remind you why a pet store is often a bad place to buy a puppy and offer suggestions for where you can find your next four-legged pal.
Puppy mills are mass breeding facilities7 that typically house hundreds of dogs for the sole purpose of producing puppies. Dogs in puppy mills usually live in horrible and unsanitary conditions. They rarely, if ever, are given the chance to leave their cages, which are typically very crowded.
These dogs are bred endlessly with no mind paid to the genetic makeup of the puppies. No care is taken to control the breeding stock to ensure genetic defects and diseases are not perpetuated. The puppies produced are then sent to pet stores where they are sold at premium prices, thus perpetuating the existence of puppy mills.
It can be common that pet stores source their puppies from puppy mills, which is why it’s best to avoid purchasing puppies from these shops. Because no care is given to the breeding process, puppy mill puppies often suffer from health issues and genetic defects.
While it may be tempting to give one of these pups a loving home, remember that by buying a puppy mill puppy, you’re supporting that industry. We will never be able to evoke a greater change if we don’t first adjust our behavior, and that includes our buying habits.
Fortunately, there are all kinds of places where you can find a puppy without supporting the puppy mill industry. Whether you’re looking for a purebred pup or mixed breed, the following places are just a few examples of where you can find your new furry friend.
There are plenty of ethical dog breeders8 who take care to ensure that both their breed stock and their puppies are happy and healthy. Many breeders have only a few breeding dogs and produce a small number of litters each year. They often house the pups in their homes and treat the dogs as part of the family.
The breeding dogs are carefully screened for health issues to ensure the puppies are free of hereditary diseases or ailments. Don’t hesitate to visit a breeder’s facility in person, just to be sure that your pup is coming from a responsible source.
Animal rescue organizations
Animal rescue organizations are a wonderful place to find both adult dogs and puppies.
If you have your heart set on a particular breed, there are many breed-specific rescue organizations, which work to help admirers of that breed to find the right dog for their family. These organizations can be an incredible resource for pet owners, as they have such a wealth of breed-specific knowledge and experience to share.
Keep in mind, many general rescues encounter purebred dogs. In fact, according to Best Friends, a large rescue organization, up to 25 – 30 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred9. So, even if you’re on the hunt for a specific breed, animal rescues are still a great place to look.
Rescue-backed pet stores
You’ll be glad to learn that there are humane pet stores that do sell pups from ethical sources. In fact, in some states, like California, pet stores are only allowed to sell pets from rescue organizations10.
It’s always important to do your research to ensure that a pet store is ethical, even if they claim to work with rescue organizations.
The Humane Society of the US is working to making it easier to identify which pet stores are puppy-friendly by creating a puppy-friendly pet store list11. Just input your zip code in the database and it will reveal the responsible pet stores nearest to where you live.
Typically, these pet stores work with rescues by providing visibility for dogs that are part of the rescue organization. Often there will be a liaison from the rescue on-site to answer any questions you may have about their pets.
If you wish to adopt one of the dogs, there may be an application you must fill out, and it could take a few days before it is approved. While you’re probably eager to take your chosen canine pal home, recognize that the rescue is working hard to ensure he ends up in a safe and loving home.
It’s extremely hard to turn away from the adorable, furry faces you spot in pet store windows, but it’s important to think of the big picture. Remember, you vote with your dollars, and the only way to create a lasting change is to put these puppy mills out of business and put our dollars to work to support organizations striving for positive changes.
Before you bring home your next pet, be sure to do your research to ensure he or she is coming from an ethical source.
1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.
2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.
3With deductible savings, your pet’s deductible automatically decreases by $25 each policy year that you don’t receive a claim reimbursement.
480% of claims are processed within 10 days or less.
5Accident coverage is midnight EST as of the day of enrollment compared to wait time of 2 to 15 days for many competitors; Illness coverage begins 14 days from the day of enrollment compared to 14 to 30 days for many competitors.
6ASPCA: No Pet Store Puppies Day is Tuesday, July 21
7Paws: Buyer Beware: The Problem with Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders
8PetFirst: How to Identify a Puppy Mill Versus a Responsible Breeder
9Best Friends: Adopting a Purebred Dog from a Shelter
10New York Times: California Forces Pet Stores to Sell Only Dogs and Cats From Shelters  by Christine Hauser
11Human Society of the United States: Puppy-Friendly Pet Store List