Don't Buy That
Doggy In The
10 Reasons NOT to Buy a Puppy from a Pet Shop
When you buy a puppy from a pet shop, you're spending a lot of money
for a dog whose parents you know nothing about. Have both parents had
their hips and elbows x-rayed for dysplasia? Have the parents been
tested for PRA, which causes blindness? Tests are expensive, but
responsible breeders do them because their goal is to produce healthy
pups. What's the pet shop's goal? If they say "healthy pups," ask them
guarantee isn't worth what you think it is.
Pet shops make a big deal about their "lifetime guarantees". But ask
them what happens when you need $800 to correct crippling hip
dysplasia in your six-month-old chocolate Lab puppy. The guarantee
requires you to give the puppy back so they can put it to sleep, which
is cheaper for them. Then they give you another puppy, one who might
also develop dysplasia. A guarantee like that is worse than no
guarantee at all.
Pet shops want you to think "AKC papers" equals healthy puppies. It
doesn't. The only thing AKC registration means is that both parents
are purebred and AKC registered. The mother (dam) could be a truly
awful example of the breed -- or worse, suffering from disease or
illness -- and the puppies can still be registered. Don't believe it?
Call the AKC at 919-233-9767 and ask them. A responsible breeder will
of course register her puppies if the breed is one of the 150 or so
recognized by the AKC, but that's only the beginning.
luck with housebreaking.
The puppies you see in the pet-shop window have spent their lives in
cages. They've never seen grass, or dirt, and they've certainly never
seen carpeting. They've been forced to eliminate in the same place
where they sleep and eat. A responsible breeder keeps the puppies very
clean, and makes sure they have separate elimination areas. By the
time they're ready to go home, well-bred puppies are often well on the
way to being housebroken.
Imagine buying a puppy that has never been inside a house before! The
doorbell, the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher -- those things can be
terrifying to a puppy who has never seen them. What about neighborhood
kids, riding in the car, or just walking on a leash? A responsible
breeder exposes her puppies to all kinds of new situations, and makes
sure they are confident, happy puppies when they go off to their new
Plus, when you go to a breeder you generally have more than one puppy
from which to choose. A responsible breeder temperament-tests her
puppies to find out which ones are outgoing or shy or dominant. Then
she matches up owners to make sure that active puppies go to active
homes, and that a shy puppy ends up in a home that's just right for
it. If you're going to spend all that money, it makes sense to look at
several examples of the breed and then pick a dog that's right for
will that puppy look like when it grows up?
When you buy a puppy from a responsible breeder, you can usually meet
the mother and see pictures or video of the father (sire). You can
discuss with the breeder the faults each parent possesses (maybe the
mother has an over bite, or the father is a little taller than the
standard). You can't predict exactly what the puppy will turn out
like, but you'll know what to expect, and you'll know that your
purebred puppy will resemble his breed. Why spend so much money on a
pet shop puppy without even knowing what the parents look like?
For the money that pet shops want you to spend, you'd expect a lot
more. Think about all the things responsible breeders do that pet
stores don't: They choose the parents based on health and temperament
issues; they pay for expensive tests to make sure both sire and dam
are free from disease or illness; they raise the puppies with an eye
toward getting them housebroken and socialized; and they help make
sure the right puppies go to the right homes. A responsible breeder
never breeds just to make money, and their prices are usually lower
than in pet shops. Save some money and get a better quality puppy at
the same time.
8. What do
you know about the breed?
Pet shops can tell you a little about the breeds they sell. And they
can point you to a rack of generic breed books. That's it. A
responsible breeder will be a wealth of information about the breed
you're interested in. She'll be able to tell you about unique breed
characteristics, ways to get involved in activities your dog might be
suited for, and most importantly, she knows what specific health
issues to watch out for.
9. Do you
want to support the puppy mills?
How do you know most pet shop pups come from puppy mills? Because no
responsible breeder would ever sell their puppies to a pet store, for
a) Responsible breeders care about the puppies they produce, and want
them to go to very carefully selected homes.
b) Keeping track of litters is an essential part of responsible
breeding. If two puppies from a certain litter die from liver failure
at a young age, the breeder knows there's a problem in the line and
will not breed the parents again. What does that say about the
breeders of pet shop pups?
that pedigree worth?
Pet shops make a big deal out of their pedigrees, which is interesting
because they just contain a bunch of names. Can the pet shop tell you
how long the puppy's grandparents lived, and what they died of? How
many of the parents littermates are still alive? How long do dogs in
this pedigree usually live? A responsible breeder can answer all of
those questions. You get not just a pedigree, but all of the important
information behind the pedigree.