Saturday, November 22, 2008

7 Reasons Not to buy a Puppy from a Pet Store

  1. Pet shops get their puppies from puppy mills - where breeding dogs are kept in conditions so horrible that most of us cannot even imagine it.
  2. Pet shop salespeople are on a par with used-car dealers - they'll tell you anything to make the sale.
  3. You won't receive "customer support" if something goes wrong. Reputable breeders stand behind you with advice.
  4. You'll get no health guarantee - and won't even know if your puppy has had it's first shots or wormer medication.
  5. Pet store sales people know nothing about a puppy's parentage or care requirements - while reputable dealers will love to tell you all about the parents' personalities, along with how to care for your specific breed.
  6. Many pet store puppies are already ill, while many others are incubating serious disease. Parvo is a big one - and the puppies may have contracted it after being in the store. The result, you and your family will become attached to a puppy who will either die soon or cost you thousands in vet bills - or both!
  7. Every pet store purchase encourages the puppy mill business. As long as there are willing buyers, dogs will be used as living machines to crank out litter after litter after litter. When they can no longer produce, they're shot or just dumped out somewhere to die. Puppy mill breeders don't put dogs into a comfortable retirement - there's no profit in that.
If you plan to give a puppy for Christmas, please do your homework first.

Research breed traits and care requirements until you've figured out what breed or breeds would fit best in your family. Then check your local animal rescue shelters to see if they have puppies of that breed. They may not have papers, but papers don't make a dog more lovable, smarter, or more beautiful. All they do is stroke the owner's ego. (Unless you want to show your dog, in which case papers are required.)

Reputable animal shelters quarantine puppies to make sure they're healthy before being offered for adoption, deworm them, give them their shots (and give you the records of those shots) and generally have the pups spayed or neutered before adoption. Some also microchip.

If there are no rescue puppies available, start researching reputable breeders. ALL reputable breeders will allow you to see the puppies at their kennel. If they won't let you see the kennel and meet the mama, they're running a puppy mill.

Lastly, take the puppy's new person along with you to choose the puppy. The attraction needs to be between them and the puppy - not you and the puppy.

I know, it spoils the surprise. But it doesn't need to. Instead of putting a puppy under the tree, buy a stuffed toy that resembles the breed and attach a card telling of the real surprise. Then choose your live puppy on December 26.

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