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The Truth About Pet Shops & Puppies

The Truth About Pet Shops & Puppies

How much is that doggy in the window?  When you go to a pet shop or boutique, do you really know where those cute puppies come from?  They come from puppy mills which are kept in deplorable condition.  Not only do puppy mills sell to pet stores, they also sell puppies through internet and newspaper advertisements.

Some of these dogs suffer from health issues due to careless breeding practices, exposure to disease and lack of medical care.  Others may develop emotional issues due to poor treatment at puppy mills and being removed from their mothers and litter mates too early.  Issues often don’t show up until later on.  Even the most exclusive pet boutiques are guilty of using puppy mills to supply the adorable pets that they are selling to trusting consumers.  AKC papers and other certificates mean absolutely nothing.

The following video provides information about the puppy industry.  The pet stores don’t want you to see it.  The video has some disturbing images so it is not meant for children to watch.



Reputable breeders are horrified at what goes on with puppy mills and make an effort curb people away from puppy mills.  Reputable breeders who are serious about their dogs should be willing and able to provide actual genetic testing documentation to prospective buyers to ensure the health of each puppy and that of its bloodlines and absence of major diseases.  Such testing is financially prohibitive to the majority of breeders, but isn’t that what you are laying out the big bucks for when you go to a professional breeder?  A reputable breeder should ask for references and should appear to be an interviewer as he/she should be bombarding you with questions and inquiries to make sure that they are dealing with trustworthy clients who will give the best care to the puppies that they are selling to you.  What about those breeders who breed for temperament?  The world is filled with psychopaths who grew up in healthy and stimulating environments.  Seventh grade science class teaches the concept of “Nature vs. Nurture,” so you really cannot depend on “molding” behaviors.  Buying puppies does not guarantee anything.

I want to add that there ARE responsible and well-meaning breeders out there who do everything in their power to treat the dogs with the greatest care possible.  However, being that an overwhelming number pets from breeders and pet stores wind up at shelters and rescue organizations, I really feel that breeding and selling dogs contribute to a host of problems when it comes to animal welfare on the whole.

Most people are unaware of the Amish puppy mills.  Yes!  In Lancaster, PA the Amish dominate the puppy mill business.  Here is a video showing what goes on:


Lester Standing on Grass

My sweet Lester. I got him from an adoption that a pet store and rescue group organized.

An article that is related to this one is called, Do You Know Where Puppies REALLY Come From. The article contains documentary film called, I Breathe: Lily’s Legacy which exposes the secrets of the pet industry and where vast majority of puppies at commercial pet shops come from.  Another great article to read is Puppy Mill Investigations which contains a video featuring Charlize Theron who gives us an inside look at puppy mills.

Pet stores who are in the business of selling puppies are aware that when you stroll by, our emotions take over when we see those cute puppy faces.  If you want a specific breed, there are organizations that rescue specific breeds.  You can also find tons of dogs of all ages, sizes, genders, and breeds available for adoption at Petfinder which uses its search engine to find the dogs for you based on the criteria that you specify.  A great facebook page is the Cross-posting & Advocating for Animals Community.  This is a community in which many pets who are in need of homes are listed.  Another wonderful site is Urgent Pets on Death Row where many dogs are desperately waiting to be rescued.  They are literally on death row.  Many have only hours left before they will be destroyed.

Sometimes rescue organizations partner with stores like Petsmart, Petco, and other pet stores for adoption events.  Rescue group bring the dogs to the pet stores which provide a wonderful venue for people to meet dogs who are in need of homes.  The transaction that occurs (when a person chooses a dog to adopt) takes place between the rescue organization and the prospective dog/pet owner NOT the store. These adoption events are publicized and the goal is to find homes for pets NOT for the store to sell for profit. I adopted my dear Lester at one of these events.  He is now in doggie heaven.


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  1. Ann Cluck

    I totally agree Essentially Dogs!! Thank you for the sites and I love and shared the article about the pet shops puppies. It is so important that people learn and understand the risks they take when they purchase a pet from a pet store or even some, not all, breeders.

  2. Holly

    I’ve found that most “pet store dogs” don’t come from the actual pet store. Individual pet shelters, rescues, and volunteers partner up with local Petsmarts, and they use it as a venue to raise money and hopefully adopt out some dogs.
    I have been friends with a rescue at Petsmart, and they are not always bred in these cruel pet mills. They RESCUE them. From shelters, abuse, death row, etc. You didn’t mention what pet supply chains are abusing puppies.
    What do you propose we do? Stop saving animals? Boycott against petstores? It’s not the dog’s fault that it was poorly brought up, and it shouldn’t mean that it doesn’t get an equal chance to survive and get a family that loves it.

    1. Janie

      Hi Holly-

      I am going to edit the article to add your point because it is one of the great way to find a dog to adopt. Thank you for your comment. Those pets are NOT being sold by the store. Sometimes rescue organizations partner with Petsmart, Petco, and other pet stores for adoption events. Those dogs originally came from heartbreaking situations, but they are rescued by organizations. During these events, transactions are made between the prospective pet owner and the rescue organization. They are NOT being sold by the pet stores. The fee for the dogs covers some of the medical expenses associated with dogs including spaying/neutering and microchips. Rescue organization use that money to support their work.

      Thank you so much for visiting my website and I hope you enjoy my articles.

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