PET STORES: THE NEW LIE
Pet stores are out to make money. Period. The salespeople they hire will say practically anything to get you to pay an obscene amount of money for a puppy that is likely defective. That being said, here's the real scoop on the poop pet stores will try to feed you.
The majority of the puppies sold in pet stores come from breeding farms called puppy mills. These dog farms typically keep dozens or hundreds of dogs in tiny, filthy pest and feces infested crates their entire lives, producing litter after litter. They rarely receive veterinary care, exercise, or attention. Most will be shot when they stop producing puppies.
Many of the puppies produced by these places have genetic defects and health problems related to the conditions they are raised in. Most of them will die young. Click below for more information and photos on puppy mills:
BUT THEY SAID...
Of course pet store owners don't want you to know all of this, because if you did, there's no way you'd ever pay thousands of dollars for one of their puppies. So here are some of the lies and misleading statement's I've heard:
The pet store said: Our puppies don't come from puppy mills. We get them from responsible breeders.
Truth: A responsible breeder would NEVER sell a puppy to a pet store. NO EXCEPTIONS. The first rule of responsible breeding is to do everything in your power to make sure your puppies are properly cared for and find new owners that will care for them as well as you did. A responsible breeder will want to meet and interview prospective owners, have a contract, and keep in touch throughout the puppy's life to make sure everything is OK. They won't pass this responsibility off to a 16-yr old pet store employee.
The pet store said: Our puppies are better quality because they come from other states. They're not inbred like the dogs you can get from a breeder around here.
Truth: Just because a dog comes from another state doesn't mean it's not inbred. In fact, most puppy mills are located in states like Arkansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and a good portion of the dogs produced by them are inbred. Ask to see a copy of the puppy's pedigree - this will list the last 4 generations of your puppy's bloodline. Write down the name of the breeding kennel and investigate. How many litters does the kennel produce? Do they do genetic testing? Do they show their dogs and breed only healthy dogs that are good examples of the breed in order to improve the quality of future generations? How many times does the same dog appear on the puppy's pedigree? Your best bet is to get a puppy directly from a responsible breeder that will be there to support you, cares about the quality of their dogs above any costs, and stands behind the quality of their line.
The pet store said: Our puppies have a lifetime guarantee. You won't get that from a breeder.
Truth: Ask what happens if you buy a puppy from a pet store and 3 years from now it develops debilitating hip dysplasia. They will likely tell you that you can return the dog and they'll give you a new one. What??? So your dog, that is now a member of your family, continues to live in pain or is euthanized, and you start over with a new puppy...only to have the same thing happen again? Prevention is the key here. A responsible breeder will not breed a dog with major health issues, and will always screen the parents for any diseases common to that particular breed prior to breeding. Ask what tests have been done (ie: OFA Hips, Thyroid, Eyes, Elbows, Heart, etc) and ask to see copies of the results. Chances are, if your puppy's parents are healthy, your pup is more likely to be healthy too. Most responsible breeders will guarantee their puppies for a period of time that will allow you to take the pup to your vet for a screening.
The pet store said: All of our puppies are healthy. Just look at them.
Truth: What you don't see is the puppy with mange in the back room, or the one with parvo that the owner brought to his house. (I've actually seen these things...) Not to mention, just because a puppy looks cute and fluffy doesn't mean it's healthy. A lot of problems can arise later in life, or a puppy might not show any symptoms of a disease until he reaches a certain age.
The pet store said: We offer a payment plan. You'll have to pay up front from a breeder.
Truth: They have to offer a payment plan because they charge 3-5 times the amount of a typical responsible breeder. Buying from a breeder is usually equivalent to the cost of the first payment at a pet store. If you're seriously low on cash and want a pet, look into adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization - it's cheaper, and the dogs are already spayed/neutered and up to date on shots.
By purchasing a dog from a pet store, you are creating a demand for puppy millers to supply and your dollars are supporting their cruelty and mistreatment of dogs. Pet store puppies are drastically overpriced and usually have health issues. Please consider adopting a dog from a shelter, or if you must have a puppy, go to a responsible breeder.
All information contained on this page is the opinion of the webmaster of this site. Statements made on this page do not refer to any specific pet store or breeder and webmaster makes no claim as to where any specific store receives it's puppies, or which breeders/puppy mills do not maintain healthy conditions for their dogs.