Why Shouldn’t I Buy that Puppy in the Window? The Low-Down on Pet Stores.

10 Reasons NOT to Buy Pet Store Puppies

Most dog lovers know about the often horrid conditions of puppy mills, the unregulated breeding facilities owned by disreputable breeders. Dogs are often bred far too frequently, are kept cramped together in filthy conditions, and are not socialized with humans. In addition, these breeders do not care about the health and strength of the breed, which often results in genetic illnesses, poor health in general and unlikable personality traits. Ironically, many dog aficionados, who have t-shirts and bumper stickers denouncing puppy mills, don’t know that the primary source of puppies sold at pet stores is from puppy mills.
There are some pet stores that buy their puppies from commercial kennels regulated by the Department of Agriculture. However, even these pups tend to be unhealthy and unsocialized. This is partly due to the fact that commercial kennels tend to breed many different breeds (or even mixed breeds) in one facility. They breed for quantity, not quality. They are interested in how much money they can make! Their interest does not lie in the healthy promotion of any certain breed but rather in how many sales they can get. So, before you buy that cute puppy in the window, consider the downsides of pet store pups:
10 Reasons Not to Buy Pet Store Puppies
1. Bad Health: Because so many pet store pups come from puppy mills, they are not the result of careful breeding and they are usually not well cared for before coming to the store. Some common illnesses and conditions are neurological problems, eye problems, hip dysplasia, blood disorders and Canine Parvovirus.
2. Behavioral Problems: Because breeding is indiscriminate, behavioral problems are not weeded out generationally. You’ll also find that a pet store’s staff is not likely to have any training in dealing with behavior issues so the puppies continue to do the wrong things, which become habit.
3. No Socialization: Pet stores pups are often pulled away from their litter at far too young an age, often at only four or five weeks. The earliest a puppy should be separated from his littermates is ten to 11 weeks. You will find that most reputable breeders will agree. This lack of time socializing with his littermates means that puppy will not develop important canine skills. Likewise, a puppy who has not been handled by people from about three weeks will not naturally socialize well with them.
4. The Downfall of the Standard: In a broad sense, purchasing a puppy from a pet store and then breeding her means you are ruining the standard of that breed because the previous breeders were not concerned with it. Most puppies look cute, but as they get older, you will find faults, sometimes serious ones, that were not earlier detected. Physical examples of faults in dachshunds include bad bite, roached back, high rear, turned out legs, etc. Medical problems could include eye problems, heart problems, or early onset of diseases. The list is limitless.
5. Lack of Information: A member of a pet store staff is not an expert on any breed and often they are sales people, not knowledgeable about dogs at all. Purchasing a puppy from a store means you will not get the lowdown on that breed or likely help with any behavioral or other questions.
6. Return at Your Puppy’s Peril: Most pet stores do offer a warranty of sorts where you can bring the puppy back if he has problems. They don’t tend to tell customers that the puppy’s fate, once returned, is usually euthanization.
7. Housebreaking is a Chore: Pet store puppies have spent all their short lives in cages. They do not have the opportunity to develop the natural canine instinct of eliminating away from their food and bed. This causes problems when you try to housebreak them.
8. What You See Isn’t Necessarily What You Get: If you see what looks like a Dachshund in the window, you may find, as she grows, that there’s a little Dachshund in there somewhere but mostly she looks like another breed altogether. There is no guarantee you will get a purebred dog if that’s what you’re after.
9. Poor Value: A puppy from a pet store generally costs between $1,000 to $2,000. Remember, that money goes to the store, the middle-man who went to the puppy mill to collect the puppies, and to the puppy mill, where the puppies were bred. The breeder’s cost involves health-testing on the dam before and during pregnancy, ultrasounds to monitor growth of puppies, and sometimes a C-section. We will not let our bitches die in childbirth, as in a puppy mill. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION for us. We also can ensure you get a healthy puppy and we provide support afterward.
10. Questionable Pedigree: You’re paying for a pedigree, or AKC papers, when you buy a puppy from a pet store but it’s very likely that it’s not genuine. If the papers are genuine, it still doesn’t mean the puppy is a good example of its breed; it means only that someone bred two dogs of the same breed together, regardless of faults or illnesses that could be passed on. A reputable breeder spends years and years striving for the best quality dachshund to breed. Furthermore, if there are health issues detected, those dogs are not ever bred but are immediately neutered.

What are your options other than pet store puppies? Find a reputable breeder or adopt your next dog from the local animal shelter or breed-specific rescues!
At Harlequin Dachshunds, we are knowledgeable about our miniature dachshunds and can help with behavioral and any physical issues that might come up later. We socialize their puppies early on, breed in good traits and breed out bad ones and can show you your puppies’ parents or other family members, and give you their history.
If you can’t afford to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder, then check out your local animal shelters and breed-specific rescues. True, you don’t have the benefit of meeting your pup’s parents. but rescued puppies are normally examined for any illness, and are socialized by staff and trained early on. Also, if you adopt a mixed puppy you may be lucky and find one who is as healthy as a purebred. In any event, giving money to a pet store ensures that the puppy mills will continue indiscriminate breeding for the almighty dollar. It’s the worst thing you can do.
So the next time you see that adorable puppy in the window, pause and think about the downsides of pet store pups. Buying from such a store is, in essence, supporting them and the horrible practice of puppy mills. And it is also almost a sure bet that you’ll have a bad experience.

10 thoughts on “Why Shouldn’t I Buy that Puppy in the Window? The Low-Down on Pet Stores.

  1. I agree Karen. Also, people should know that breeders breed to improve the breed often times keeping multiple puppies for themselves to show, train and love. Breeders rarely profit from selling puppies. Puppy mills that supply puppies to the pet stores produce in mass quantities and do it strictly for profit. Their dogs are raised I filthy conditions much of the time. Every puppy deserves a good home. It’s just not a good idea to support this type of reproducing.

  2. Many people searching for a pet are not well informed as to the correct breed for their family or their lifestyle. Keep in mind that the purpose of the pet shop is to sell puppies quickly; not to ensure a good pet for the family. The breeder will be most concerned about where the puppy is placed and that it is a good “fit.” Hope everyone who reads this will heed your advice. Thank you Harlequin Dachshunds for great information as well as beautiful puppies!

  3. Excellent Information! We breeders work very hard to have the healthiest parents and pups in our programs. The pups are our responsibility for their lifetime. Owners will benefit from the support and education that is available to them. Many times I hear “well we bought our dog from a broker who gets them from reputable breeders.” We do not sell our pups to brokers! They are the puppy mills incognito. This information needs to get out to the general public.

    1. I agree, Sharon. We need to get the word out that reputable breeders will NEVER place their puppies with brokers for pet shops. Only backyard breeders and puppy mills, often with dogs of inferior quality or poor health, will allow their puppies to be sold at a pet shop.

  4. I couldn’t even imagine purchasing a puppy from a pet store. I have two dachshunds, both from Harlequin Dachshunds. They have the most wonderful dispositions, very social with other dogs and just love children. Also they are beautiful dogs; I get stopped all the time with compliments! Thank you Karen for bringing such joy into our lives with your very special puppies.

  5. My family purchased our sweet little Doxie, Scarlett, in 2006 from a pet store. While we wouldn’t have changed Scarlett for the world, we will NEVER buy from a pet store again. Scarlett’s back problems started at the age of two years. We just figured “she’s a Doxie” and it’s to be expected, we soon found she had an extra vertebrae. Off and on for years Scarlett would have flare ups and need to be on medications. In 2015, Scarlett was diagnosed with SARDS. It’s a condition that mimics Cushings Disease and causes blindness. Cushings can be treated, there is not treatment for SARDS. Scarlett went from being an energetic happy pup to a lazy OVERWEIGHT pup. She doubled her weight even though she at 3/4 cup of Science Diet weight control a day. Our vets were concerned but realized she just didn’t have it in her to play and run like before. They didn’t feel she was in pain and she was still a happy sweetie, just a true lap dog now. One of the worst days of our lives was October 18th. Scarlett went into cardiac arrest at the emergency vet. We lost our sweet angel. Words cannot describe how devastated we were and still are. We have spent THOUSANDS caring for our Scarlett. We have since learned that another dog from the same pet store and likely from the same litter passed away last year. We always heard Doxies lived long lives. Scarlett would have been 11 on November 5th. Our house feels empty without Scarlett. My family is looking to bring a new female Doxie into the family this coming spring/summer. We are researching and speaking with AKC breeders and will NOT be purchasing from a pet store EVER AGAIN!

    1. Thank you for sharing Scarlett’s story. As the blog indicates, puppy mills are the primary source of puppies for pet stores. They are out for a profit and are not concerned about the health and well-being of the dogs that they produce. On the other hand, the breeders’ goal is to improve the quality of the breed as much as possible, by using only as parents only dogs who are healthy and have correct structure. I often review 4 or 5 generations of pedigrees before deciding to breed any particular dog. Of course there are no guarantees in life, but you would be much less likely to encounter genetic health problems by purchasing a puppy from a responsible breeder who is dedicated to the breed.

  6. Thank you for featuring adult dogs on your website. I’ve owned dogs since 1958 and know all too well how easy it is to fall in love with a puppy, not realizing that an adult dog is hiding inside. For the past decade, I’ve taken in retired breeding animals and have loved my older dogs. They are house broken and past the chewing stage. They also appreciate a quiet life. It is wonderful of you to promote the adult dog.

  7. We lost our little friend 3 months ago. His name was Lucky, although he wasn’t very lucky health wise. My daughter bought him from a pet shop, and from the start, he was “touch and go” with a bad kennel cough. He also had a rather nasty temperament. He came to live with us after he bit too many kids and my daughter was at her wits end. At 6 yrs of age he went blind from SARS he hung in there. We found talking toys for him so we could still play. Unfortunately both his kidneys failed last year and at 10 years of age the vet said he couldn’t survive this time so we had to euthanize my little buddy.
    It took some time for us to accept his loss but we decided it’s time to bring a new doxie into our lives. Lucky was a long haired miniature black with some tan coloring I was hoping to find a similar looking doxie.
    I have no intentions of showing, but would just like a new friend, but more importantly, a healthy dog from a reputable breeder, such as Harlequin Dachshunds. Thank you for the opportunity to post my negative experience with a pet shop purchase.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.