The first step on the road to pet ownership is to ask yourself some tough questions: Why do you want a puppy? Can you afford one? Are you ready to take care of a dog every day for his entire life? If you’ve decided you’re ready for a dog, follow the HSUS’ top five puppy buying tips and you’ll be far more likely to get a healthy, well-socialized dog who doesn’t drain your emotions or your purse. One who doesn’t come from a puppy mill.
1. Consider adoption. Adopting a dog instead of buying one is one of the surest ways to strike a blow against puppy mills. To find the perfect match, you’ll want to choose the right one for you and your lifestyle. Animal shelters have dozens of dogs, many of them purebreds, just waiting for homes. There are also breed specific rescue groups for every breed of dog, including “designer” or “hybrids” like Labradoodles and Puggles. Mixed-breed dogs also make wonderful pets.
2. Find a responsible breeder and visit their premises. Responsible breeders provide a loving and healthy environment for their canine companions, one that they will be proud to show you. Never buy a puppy without seeing where they and their parents are raised and housed with your own eyes.
3. Don’t be fooled by common claims made by pet stores when pushing their puppies. Despite what they may tell you, pet stores do sell puppy mill puppies.
4. Don’t be swayed by a great website or ad. Just because a website says great things about their “home raised” or “family raised” puppies doesn’t make it true. Many puppy millers pose as small family breeders online and in newspaper and magazine ads. For many years The HSUS has aided local authorities in the rescue of puppy mill dogs across the nation. In almost all cases the puppy mills sold puppies via the Internet using legitimate-looking ads or websites that made claims that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
5. Avoid the temptation to “rescue” a puppy mill puppy by buying him. Even though your intentions may be good, don’t buy a puppy with the idea that you are “rescuing” him or her. Your “rescue” opens up space for another puppy mill puppy and puts money into the pockets of the puppy mill industry. Pet stores won’t leave their cages empty and websites won’t leave their pages blank. The money you spend on your puppy goes right back to the puppy mill operator and ensures they will continue breeding and treating dogs inhumanely. If you see someone keeping puppies in poor conditions, alert your local animal control authorities instead of buying.