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Thinking about buying a puppy from a pet store? Think twice.

Posted on: July 20th, 2009 by

Before you buy a pet, you should know that many pet shops do not provide proper veterinary care to animals and often sell sick and injured animals.

I can’t tell you how many pet owners have told me about bad experiences with pet store puppies and kittens. The problem generally stems from the fact that these animals are a commodity, raised for money rather than love. Many come from puppy mills, where they endure inhumane, unhealthy conditions and receive little or no human interaction.

A friend of mine tells me she bought a beautiful Samoyed puppy and quickly discovered that the dog had a long list of fears and emotional problems. “She was afraid of human voice or the wind blowing her fur. She was so afraid of human touch she would fall to the floor and release her bladder and bowels if I touched her!”

My friend’s Samoyed was also found to have serious heart problems including a pansystolic murmur. Inborn health problems like these are often genetic and could be directly caused by inbreeding, a common practice at puppy mills. Worst of all, they can severely shorten the pet’s life span.

I’m not saying all pet stores are bad – of course there may be caring pet stores that sell dogs and cats. And, obviously, not all breeders run money-hungry puppy mills. But according to the information I’ve read, a reputable breeder probably wouldn’t sell their dogs to pet stores.

Also, you should consider the fact that each dog or cat bought at a store means one less adoption home for a shelter animal. Since U.S. animal shelters host up to 12 million homeless animals per year, they need all the caring, loving homes they can get.

If you decide to buy instead of adopting a pet, my advice is to go directly to a reputable breeder. Find out as much as you can about the breeder and their practices – a responsible breeder will be proud to tell you about their methods and take you on a tour of their facilities.

And to be safe, have the animal checked by a veterinarian before the transaction is final. This often-overlooked step could save you thousands of dollars and plenty of heartache down the road.

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