What are the problems with puppy mills and should you avoid them? When you decide you want to get a puppy you will have a decision to make. Should you buy from a pet store, a breeder, or adopt from a shelter? You will need to do your research and look at all of your options to ensure you are getting a healthy, well adjusted puppy to add to your family.
What is a Puppy Mill?
Puppy mills, or puppy farms, are usually large commercial farms that breed dogs purely to make money. They often house the dogs in unhygienic, inadequate, and overcrowded conditions. The puppy mill problem is more common with breeds in the top 10 of the AKC like Poodles, Bulldogs, Beagles, and Labs.
Females in these mills are impregnated every heat cycle, and the mother does not have enough time to recover between litters. Incest is common, which can cause temperament and health problems in puppies. It is hard to imagine any puppy for sale in the pet store window could be less than perfect, but many pet stores still buy from puppy mills. These puppies are often prone to health problems, behavioral issues, and can be difficult to train.
Common Problems with Puppy Mills
Health issues that can plague puppies from mills include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma
- Respiratory infections
- Kennel cough
- Dental diseases
- Intestinal parasites
- Digestive issues.
Behavioral problems can also arise from a puppies time in a puppy farm. These can include:
- Aggression and Food aggression
- Sleep problems
What Can You Do To Avoid Puppy Farms and Mills
Find a Healthy Puppy
You could buy a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder. Purebred puppy regulations are different. You can locate reputable breeders through a veterinarian or the American Kennel Club (AKC). These reliable sources help prevent people buying from puppy mills.
With purebred adoption, ensure you research the breed you want since each has different activity requirements and specific personality traits. Choose about five places from vets, AKC, your local paper, or the Internet to check out. Visit each one and ask questions of the breeders.
Before adopting a puppy, ask the breeders these questions:
- How old are the puppies?
- Have the puppies undergone worming and vaccinations?
- Will the puppies’ parents be available to meet?
A responsible breeder would never give a puppy up for adoption before eight weeks old. Puppies that are too young have not had adequate time to socialize with their mother and siblings and are not ready to be adopted by a new family.
In addition, the purebred puppies need to have a genetic defects test and readily available copies of registration papers for the mother and father.
Also, you should ask questions about the breed and how long the breeder has been in business. The more questions you ask, the more you will be able to determine that the puppies have not been shipped to this place from a puppy mill.
What to Look for With a Puppy’s Parents
If the parents are good-natured with people and each other, the puppies will have a good temperament, too. If the parents are snappy, this may indicate that the mother has been bred too much or that she is not capable of socializing with her puppies.
Also, this gives the opportunity to view the living arrangements of the animals. It is common for breeders to have the mother and father as indoor pets. If not, outside living arrangements must be checked to ensure they are clean and sanitary.
Adopting a Rescue Dog
If you don’t want to buy a purebred puppy, your best option is to adopt a rescue puppy or dog from a shelter. There are many puppies and dogs that are abandoned every year. Giving one of these pups a home can be the most rewarding experience.
Many of the same advice still applies. Do your research on breeds, even though with some rescue dogs you will not know the exact breed or breeds. Ask lots of questions of the staff at the shelter about the dog and their conditions.
Here are a few places you can start your search:
Make the right choice so that your dog does not end up back at the shelter.
Help Your New Puppy Adjust
When taking a new puppy home, remember to always be gentle and soft-spoken. The family should handle the puppy often by holding or playing with him. This starts the formation of the bond between your puppy and the family members.
Prior to your puppy’s adoption, you should have purchased a puppy crate and bed, food, teething toys, and puppy pads. Remember that a puppy needs to be placed on a pad or taken outside every hour during the day and every three hours during the night since they cannot successfully hold their bladders until about five months old.
Scolding after bathroom accidents will only teach the puppy that going to the bathroom is wrong and they must hide it in some way. This causes them to go in corners when you are not looking or cover it up with towels or shoes. Beware of this common mistake new pet owners make. Heavily praise good actions and pay no attention to bad ones. Before long, the puppy will only do what gets a positive reaction. See our other article for more on potty training a puppy.
For other advice on how to train a puppy read these articles:
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