Saturday, June 9, 2012

11 Reasons Why Not to Buy Puppies from a Pet Store (a Shark Tribute)

Today, I would like to interrupt my weekly dose of fun and frolic to dedicate this post to Shark. He was the reason why I started this blog. We had so many memories during our time together that I regret only having been able to take a single picture of him with my phone. I had not expected his wonderful life to be so short-lived.

This is Shark. He was the most beautiful of the bunch. Compared to his other siblings, he had the cutest eyes and the prettiest smile. Credits to syedimranrocks for the beautiful frame I used

Firstly, let me just say that breeding is a job for the responsible breeders. And compared to pet stores in most countries, here in the Philippines, pet store puppies with papers (documents to prove they are purebred) are more reliable than the ones being sold online. So with that clarified, here are some reasons why buying at a pet store isn't recommended.

1. Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. 

The truth is, NO RESPONSIBLE AND ETHICAL BREEDER WOULD SEND THEIR PRECIOUS CHARGES INTO THE UNKNOWN. And you've seen in Youtube how cruel they can be with the living conditions they keep their dams in. Puppies need to be socialized, so do their mothers. The place where they are born in shouldn't be cramped in a cage. That teaches them to potty in their den. What owner would want to have his dog pee or poop on the carpet?

2. Most pet stores don't have health guarantees.

It will be a first if I hear a pet store salesperson say, "If in case your puppy is sick, you can return it to us." Responsible breeders will assure you that if something happens to your puppy (or if you are no longer capable of taking care of him), they'll readily accept him back with open arms. Responsible breeders have their dams and sires tested for genetic health defects which further assures your puppy's healthy status as they grow up.

3. No customer support EVER!

You can't just barge in a pet store asking for help with your sick puppy. They'll just tell you to go see a vet. Responsible breeders will always offer you their support and knowledge so you know what's best for your puppy. If they're familiar with the puppy's problem, they would easily help you through it. If he is gravely sick, they will provide you with numbers of vets they trust.

4. Pet store salespeople usually know little of puppy parenting let alone any special care for every breed of puppy they have.

Sure they'll talk to you about what made the breed so special and why it is so awesome to have this dog, but ask them about potty training. Or at the least, ask them about schedules regarding vaccinations, socializing the puppy and temperament. They'll probably say, "Oh, he's nice and loves to be with people." Don't forget to ask them how he is with cats or how he plays with his brothers and sisters (or with other puppies).

5. Pet store salespeople will not ask whether the puppy is fit for your lifestyle. All they care about is making a sale.

Responsible and reputable breeders usually ask a series of questions before they finally decide whether you're a fit candidate for their puppies. They say "No" to those who have wrong expectations of the puppy  or if that person's lifestyle doesn't suit the breed. They further educate people about the breed and make them understand why the breed is or isn't for you.

6. Pet store salespeople usually won't give you an idea of the puppy's temperament and behavior as it grows up.

Reputable breeders are capable of telling you what to expect when they grow up. You will even have the benefit of seeing the mother of the puppies if not both parents. You'll also be able to observe her and see how she reacts to her environment.

7. In terms of selling, expect a pet store salesperson to sell the puppy like a car salesperson does.

They will convince you to buy the puppy because it is a good deal, blinding you from the fact that the puppy may have internal issues such as parasites or budding behavioral problems. As they always say, FOCUS ON THE GOOD POINTS and never on the bad.

8. Puppies sold in the pet store can be harbingers of worms, parasites and diseases.

Some pet store puppies can be made to look healthy and happy, but you will never know until it's too late. Aside from the heartbreaking fact that you'll probably suffer the grief of dealing with the death of a puppy who has captured your heart in the short time he's been with you, you might have to deal with house infestations.

In scenarios 8 and 9, you must be prepared to spend more than you would a puppy with an assured clean bill of health. The vet bills can sky rocket just by not anticipating these health issues.

9. You may be compromising your healthy pets' life by introducing a puppy bought from a pet store into your home.

Unless you are the type who makes it a rule to immediately bring the new addition of the family to the vet, then you might be endangering your other pets' lives. Isolation is a great way to avoid encountering this, but there are just instances that you'll run out of luck.

That's how my dogs got Parvo. My mom got me a puppy from a friend of hers who neglects her dogs (Apparently, their definition of taking care of dogs is not giving them a clean place to live in and not spaying/neutering. Just imagine how puppy mills are). I isolated them for two week while deworming them- they were to weak to be vaccinated during that time. After that, we introduced them to our dogs. Little did I know that they had signs of parvo and parasites. Back then, I wasn't aware of these things so I didn't bring my dogs to the vet to have them checked. We lost two of our best friends because of the Parvo they brought.

10. Buying puppies from a pet store equals puppy mill promotion.

It's like the saying, if you buy drugs you are giving pushers a job and drug syndicates a go-signal to make more. And that's just plain bad.

We are supposed to condemn puppy mills because they are cruel and they breed without whatsoever concern to their dogs. There are far healthier dogs in dog shelters and rescue centers. If you want a dog, either get it from a reputable breeder or visit the rescue center near you. You might just find that dog who will accompany you for years and years to come.

11. You are promoting animal cruelty.

Do you know what happens to the bitches and studs who are no longer capable of producing puppies for profit? They are either abandoned, neglected or left in a cage to die. This sounds cruel but that's the harsh reality of it. Puppy mills are not humane. People who make puppy mills are there for the profit with no utter concern for the lives of the dogs who they've abused. They see these animals as machines and disposable objects (even machines get maintained and protected from harsh weather elements).

To learn more about reputable breeders, check this post on how to spot a good breeder.


  1. puppy mills are so sad. they are against the law in my city, but i know of one store that still sells puppy mill dogs, claiming they are from breeders not puppy mills. thankfully the rest of these puppy stores have closed.

  2. Thank you for posting this very serious issue. Your post is extremely informative and I hope it wakes people up to the horrors of pet stores selling pets. I have been a HUGE advocate against pet stores selling pets - not just dogs, any live animals - for years! I am angry that it is still going on! In the 1980s there were huge campaigns against puppy mills, and then suddenly the campaigns all stopped and really not much happened to stop the practice because now almost 30 years later puppy mills are still in existence and still horror houses for the dogs in them. Thanks for your post and helping to make people aware of the problem.

    Your Angel Shark is a beauty!

    Suka and K

  3. Sorry - I hit publish too soon! What I meant to write was that your Angel Shark is a beauty and I am sorry you had such a short time with him.

    Suka and K

    1. Thank you. He wasn't a puppy mill dog but he came from the neighbors who's breeding dogs to make a living because they don't have food on their plates often. He was well cared for but then the Parvo came to take him away from us.

      No problem, Suka. Thank you for reading this post. I know it was very long and I would certainly understand if you'd only check it out.

      I watched in Youtube this controversy about Petsmart buying their pets from breeding mills. Imagine how awful that would be. I even saw the sign saying "20% off" in a puppies glass window. That's just awful.

  4. Luckily, I don't think you can buy puppies from pet shops here any more but unfortunately we do have puppy farms. Their only goal is to make money and don't care anything for the poor dogs.
    Lynne x

  5. We agree, puppy mills are terribly sad.:(

    Teddy Bear & Sierra

  6. Your little Shark is a cutie. We wholeheartedly agree with your post!

  7. Shark sure was a beauty. Mom said she had two petstore puppies before she got wise about the evils of many petstores. We all agree wholeheartedly with your post. It is very hard to look at a cute kitty or puppy at the store and walk away, but in the end it really is the best thing to do.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

    1. I remember watching how sometimes people can't help but buy the doggy in the window because they know they could provide them a better future. I am often caught in such predicament. But I know I have to steer away from the temptation as well.

  8. That video was awful :( We are fortunate that in UK selling kittens and puppies from pet shops is illegal, but it doesn’t stop illegal puppy farms! They can still be bought online :( I think that prospective pet owners should be vetted first, but it is costly. The RSPCA do that before placing a rescue in a home. They will come and check you out and then after you’ve had the animal for a few months they will come and check again (mostly). At one time you had to have a license if you had a dog!

    I loved you comment on my blog. Made me smile :) Austin shall be renamed Fluffy, forthwith lol

  9. Shark looked so cool! We ditto what Carolyn said just above ny comment. Have a great weekend and looking forward to some more of your fun!
    Best wishes Molly

  10. A lot of our pet shops get their dogs from puppy mills too. It's really sad and I hate the way the dogs put up for sale are way too young to be separated from their mother and siblings...a recipe for disaster if they are bought by people who do not know the importance of socializing the puppies. :(

  11. Sharkey was gorgeous. Thank you for such an insightful post, you always blog about something meaningful.

    Luckily puppies aren't sold in Pet stores over here in the UK, it is illegal. But Puppy mills are still rife!


  12. I was ever so glad when the pet stores in the malls went out of business as they sold puppies and kittens. What a great service you did by writing this and I hope this helps someone out there who might think of buying from a pet store or online, sight unseen. You need to go and see the puppy and it's surroundings, you need to talk to the breeder...and most of all don't fall in love at first sight, which is really hard to not do!

    Even though Tucker came from what I was told was a great breeder... Let's just say that he had quite the case of worms and coccidia and giardia that took forever to get rid of. He didn't have any issues that you would have thought as his poop was fine and he was frisky. I think we must have spent between fecal's and medicine several hundred dollars to get him well over a course of almost 2 months. I look back and realize that the breeder had too many dogs to take care of and too many cross contamination between puppies and the other dogs.

    I learned a lesson...make sure the breeder keeps a clean place.

    1. I know what you mean. We had the same issues with Buchi. He didn't come from a trustworthy breeder (well, in fact they didn't take breeding seriously. It was like some sort of accident). He had the worst case of mange I've ever seen. It only came out after we had him for a week.

      He was such a tiny puppy when he went bald. We were lucky enough find a great medicine that was potent enough to kill the parasites but leave Buchi relieved and mange free.

  13. So sad...You've done a wonderful thing writing this.
    And your Shark was beautiful. Such happy eyes. XO
    ; ) Katie & Glogirly

  14. Very well said. Adoption is the best. :)


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