Problems With Puppy Mills – A Guide to Picking Out a New Puppy

If you’re planning to get a new puppy, you’ll face a decision-making process between the pet store, a breeder, the shelter, etc.

The sad truth is, there are commercial farms called puppy mills that breed puppies for profit and keep them in cruel conditions.

What are other problems with puppy mills? We share with you everything you need to know about the shadowy industry and what you can do to avoid puppy mills and farms.

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getting a puppy

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:

  • Malnutrition
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Deafness
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Parvovirus
  • Eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma
  • Respiratory infections
  • Kennel cough
  • Dental diseases
  • Pneumonia
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Heartworm
  • Mange
  • Digestive issues.

Behavioral problems can also arise from a puppies time in a puppy farm. These can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression and Food aggression
  • Fear
  • Trembling
  • Shyness
  • Sleep problems.

These problems that arise from the confinement and deprivation of a puppy will have long-term physical and psychological effects that even vaccinations can’t prevent and treat.

The dogs here don’t just suffer when they are confined, but they also carry these emotional scars with them for years, even when they’re placed in loving homes.

What Can You Do To Avoid Puppy Farms and Mills

If you want to avoid these issues, here are some things you can do.

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:

The Shelter Pet Project

Adopt a Pet


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.

Help Stop Puppy Mills

Sometimes, helping to stop inhumane industries like puppy mills can be as simple as not supporting them.

When choosing to bring a new canine companion into your life, avoid buying from puppy mills to steer clear of them.

Instead, find a healthy puppy or adopt from your local shelter! There are many dogs abandoned every year. Giving one of these pups a home can be the most rewarding experience.

Make sure to help them adjust to their new homes with a bed, food, teething toys, and puppy pads.

For more on how to train a puppy read these articles:

How to Raise the Perfect Dog

The Best Online Dog Training Course

Dog Training Commands Your Dog Should Know and How to Teach Them