“Puppies for sale” is one of the top web-search phrases used by those looking to share their life with a furry companion, or expand their existing menagerie. Sometimes people on Craigslist, other sites, or even people down the street will offer “Puppies for free.” You may be wondering what the harm would be in buying a puppy or scooping up a free dog from someone giving them away. It’s important to be aware of what happens when you buy a dog or take one for free, and why you should consider adopting a dog instead.
What’s Wrong With Buying Puppies For Sale?
Puppies for sale in pet stores are often supplied by puppy mills. In fact, over 2 million puppies are bred in mills each year. Puppy mills are often overcrowded facilities where dogs live in horrendous conditions and are forced to breed and give birth until they are of no use anymore. These dogs are not loved and well cared for; they only exist for the profit of the people that run the facilities. So when you see a dog in a puppy store, imagine what that dog’s parents went through. That is the business that most pet stores support. Unless you know that a pet store is supplied by a local shelter, think long and hard about who is benefiting from your purchase and who is suffering because of it.
You might be considering buying from a breeder instead, or just someone who was irresponsible and didn’t have their dog spayed or neutered. There are problems with these purchases, too. Backyard breeders often don’t care about inbreeding or avoiding health concerns for their puppies, which can result in horrible birth defects and more unwanted, unhealthy dogs. People whose dogs had puppies by mistake usually don’t bother with vaccinations or spaying and neutering, and they typically don’t do background checks, so anyone can buy the dogs. People often take these puppies to use as bait dogs in dog fighting rings, and the puppies suffer horrible fates.
Reputable breeders provide more care for their dogs and make sure that puppies are healthy, and that’s a good thing. They’ll often make sure that they go to good homes, too. The problem with breeders is that 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year because they aren’t wanted. Why not save one of those dogs instead of encouraging more breeding? Every dog that is bred and sold means one other dog didn’t get a home and a chance at life.
What’s Wrong With Free Puppies?
The same problems that exist with puppies that are sold by people who’s dogs gave birth by mistake exist with free puppies. Usually these puppies are found by concerned people who don’t know any better or are the result of a pet getting pregnant unexpectedly. These dogs are sometimes advertised as “Free to a good home.” But who makes sure that they are going to a good home? Is the person offering them doing background checks or setting up meetings for prospective owners to interact with the puppies? Probably not. It is possible that the person offering these puppies hasn’t considered that they might be taken by people who want cheap bait dogs. If you see someone giving away dogs for free, inform them that the dogs’ safety is at risk and suggest that they surrender the puppies to a shelter instead.
Additionally, these dogs are not vaccinated and are usually separated from their mothers too early. It takes at least eight weeks for a puppy to mature to the point where they don’t need to be with their mother or litter mates, sometimes even longer. Have these puppies been nursed so they get the valuable antibodies in their mothers’ milk? Have these puppies had health checks by a veterinarian? It’s unlikely.
Why Adopt Instead?
1. Save a life: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters each year. Of those animals, about half are adopted, and half are euthanized.
3. Save money: The fee for adopting a shelter dog covers the medical expenses for the services listed above and is almost always a drop-in-the-bucket compared to what you would pay to a pet store who has not taken care of those medical necessities and who very possibly acquires their puppies from puppy mills that are offering puppies for sale.
4. Gain a lifetime of loyalty: Rescued dogs who have had less than ideal lives before making it to the shelter tend to be more loyal and affectionate when given a second chance by a kind and loving owner or family.
5. Set a good example: You’ll teach your children, family members and friends the value of offering second chances, and how one person can make a difference by showing compassion toward an animal in need.
Don’t buy into the myths that because an animal has ended up in a shelter he or she is unhealthy or must have some sort of behavioral problem. Most shelter dogs are as healthy and “normal” as any other dog.
So before you type, “puppies for sale” into your next Google search, please pause for a moment to consider the points above and take the first step in making a real difference in someone’s life by searching for, “local rescue shelters” or visit DogTime’s Adoptable Animal Finder.
Would you consider adopting a puppy or dog instead of buying? Would you prefer to save a life instead of supporting a puppy mill? Let us know in the comments below!