Did you know that this past week was Animal Welfare Week? We all have roles to play in ensuring good animal welfare. One of the first places where you can make a difference is with the purchase of your puppy. Unfortunately, many puppies come from puppy mills where the animals are kept in horrible conditions and are mistreated. By avoiding purchasing from these places, we can put an end to them.
What is a Puppy Mill?
A Puppy Mill is an intensive large scale commercial dog breeding operation that can range from having tens to hundreds of dogs. Dogs are bred solely for profit with no care for the health of the dogs nor the puppies produced. In these mills, the dogs are kept in deplorable conditions; often in overcrowded and dirty cages with little human interaction and no environmental enrichment. Females are bred at every opportunity and will be euthanized when they no longer produce enough puppies. They also receive very little to no veterinary care. Unfortunately, that means that most puppies from these mills come with medical conditions.
How to Avoid Puppy Mills:
- Do not purchase dogs from pet stores. This is the primary way puppy mills sell their dogs. Even though pet stores will often claim their dogs are from reputable breeders, if you are not able to get the information to go visit that breeder, they are likely from a puppy mill. Even if the puppy comes with registration “papers”, this does not guarantee it is not from a puppy mill. Most reputable pet stores will have adoption centers for rescues as opposed to selling dogs.
- Rescue or adopt instead of buying. Even if you are looking for a purebred dog, there are many breed specific rescues out there that could have one for you. One of the benefits of going through a rescue is that they usually already know the personality and health concerns of the animal you are adopting, so you can find the perfect fit.
- Do not buy online. This is now also becoming a popular way for puppy mills to sell their dogs and should be avoided at all costs.
- Visit breeders. If you do decide that you want to get a puppy from a breeder, make sure to visit the breeder. A good breeder will allow you to meet the parents (at least the mother as the father may not be on site) and see the conditions that the parents live in. He should also show you how the puppies are kept. Breeders should also have certain health certificates for the parents (depending on breed) showing that they are free of particular genetic defects (for example hip dysplasia in German Shepherds). If a breeder will not allow you to visit his facility, avoid them.
The only way that we can put an end to the mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills is to make sure we do not purchase dogs from mills. As long as mills keep making money, they will keep doing what they are doing. It is up to us to put a stop to it. If you are considering getting a puppy, contact our veterinary team at Mitchell Veterinary Services. We can help guide you to ensure you end up with a healthy and happy puppy.