“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 wonder what the harm is in buying puppies or taking them from someone giving them away for free. You should know what happens when you buy or take a dog for free, and why you should adopt 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. They are also 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 many pet stores support. Unless you know local shelters supply your pet store, think about who benefits from your purchase and who suffers.
Can I Buy From A Cheap Breeder, Instead?
You might consider buying from a cheap breeder, instead, or someone who’s irresponsible and didn’t have their dog fixed. 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. Also, 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.
What About Responsible Breeders?
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. Some even guarantee that they care for their dogs for life. So, if any dog is returned to them, they’ll find that dog a good home.
The problem with buying from 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. Responsible breeders are, by far, a major step up from backyard breeders and puppy mills. Just remember that there are already dogs in shelters waiting for you to save their lives.
What’s Wrong With Free Puppies?
The same problems that exist with puppies sold by people whose dogs gave birth by mistake also 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 to train their dogs to fight. 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 that has not taken care of those medical necessities and that, 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.
Adopt, Don’t Shop!
Don’t buy into the myths that, because an animal ended up in a shelter, they are 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!