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.