Puppy Mills – Yes, they still exist!

It is hard to imagine that Puppy Mills still exist in an age where communication can spread like wild fire on the internet and social media, one would think that dog lovers would unite in identifying puppy mills and not recommending them.  The sad truth is that people are still buying dogs that directly or indirectly perpetuate animal abuse.  Dogs are literally mass produced so that puppy mills can make as much profit as possible from the offspring.  Designer dogs, or dogs that are in vogue often become the breeding target of puppy mills to supply the demand.  Currently, anything with an “oodle” suffix, French bulldogs and golden retrievers seem to be the breed du jour.  What you need to know to protect yourself from unknowingly buying a puppy from a puppy mill:

  • Make sure you meet both parents of the litter, if the mother is not with the puppies and they are under 8 weeks of age, they have been separated too soon
  • Make sure you meet at the breeder’s location, do not agree to a money transfer, shipment or meeting in a parking lot.  The only way to know how your puppy was bred and raised, is to see for yourself
  • Ask to see the vaccination records of both the parents and the puppies.  Responsible breeders will ensure their bloodline is properly vaccination and meets with a vet regularly
  • Ask how many breeds of dogs the breeder has on site.  Reputable breeders often concentrate on one breed, one bloodline, ensuring the quality and genetic traits of the breed.  If you happen across a breeder with more then three breeds available, there is a good chance they are a puppy mill and trying to mass market as much as possible to specific buyers
  • See how many puppies are available for sales.  Litter size varies on breed, but commonly toy breeds have less then 4 puppies, mid-size to large breeds a maximum of 10.  If a breeder is offering over 15 puppies to look at, chances are they are not all from the same parents, nor the same breed
  • Ask how old the puppies are, with date of birth on vaccination records.  Puppies should start weaning from their mother at 6 weeks, and be eating solid food and on a healthy diet by 8 weeks.  The smaller the puppy, the longer they should stay with their parents
  • Breeders should supply paperwork.  You should get a receipt for payment, history of dog’s parentage and vaccination schedule

Always remember that as a responsible dog owner, the responsibility begins before the puppy comes home.  Do your research on breeders, what breed best fits your lifestyle, ask a veterinarian for a referral, or speak to people you see on the street who have the type of dog you like.  Personal referrals are your best option and vets know the health and history of animals in their clinic.

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