Buying a dog from a pet store or the cheapest breeder you can find might sound like a good idea at first, but it’s definitely NOT worth it.
The small savings you might experience today comes at the cost of hidden expenses later on in the life of your dog, in the form of diseases, negative personality traits and more.
Let’s take a look at 7 warning signs you’re dealing with a puppy mill, and what to do instead of enabling these inhumane, destructive businesses.
1. The puppies are way too young
For proper development, puppies need to stay with their mom until they are about 8 weeks old. Besides physical development, dogs need time to socialize with their littermates, other dogs, and PEOPLE.
If a breeder is selling very young puppies, it’s typically as a cost-cutting measure so the breeder doesn’t have to feed them or give them proper vaccinations. Puppies taken from their litters at a young age are MUCH more likely to develop aggressive and antisocial behaviors. Bottom line: don’t do it, no matter how cute the dog is now.
2. There’s no guarantee
At Uptown Puppies we back our dogs with a hefty health warranty. We’re able to do that because we’ve spent tons of time with these pups and we feel confident enough in the work we’ve done that we can promise you an exceptional pet.
Puppy mill dogs are highly unlikely to come with any sort of contract or guarantee, leaving you with the full medical expenses if and when your puppy grows ill or begins to show signs of crippling genetic disorders—disorders than can be avoided with proper breeding standards.
And it’s not even about the medical costs—puppy mills willingly let caring families take on defective animals, knowing full well that the bond between their puppies and those families will likely be broken far earlier than expected.
3. The pups look unclean or unhealthy
It’s no surprise that animals raised in unsafe and unsanitary conditions look, well…bad.
Puppy mill dogs tend to have poorer coat quality, may act lethargic, walk poorly, smell unhygienic and more.
That’s not to say that every sickly looking dog came from a puppy mill or that puppy mills are incapable of producing a dog that looks healthy, but in general you can tell where a pup came from based on how it looks and acts.
4. The puppies aren’t vaccinated
Any reputable breeder is going to get their dogs vaccinated—both the parents and the puppies! Unvaccinated dogs spread illness like wildfire, which could quickly harm an entire litter.
Puppy mills hope they can get their dogs out the door before any of them get sick, and skipping essential vaccinations is just another way they cut corners to save cash. Great for them, but not so much for the new dog owner saddled with the bills—or worse, blindsided by a sick dog after thinking their new pup was already vaccinated.
5. The breeder won’t meet at home
There could be an entirely valid reason why a breeder can’t meet you at home, but if a breeder refuses and suggests meeting in a parking lot or a park instead, that could be a red flag.
Puppy mill owners would all go out of business if their buyers got to see their operations up close and personal, which is why they often push for meetings in public places—far away from the horror show they have running at home.
If you can’t see the kennel, assume it’s a puppy mill.
6. The breeder offers many, many types of dogs
If someone is offering up a dozen different kinds of dogs for sale, ask yourself how they manage to do that without being a puppy mill.
It’s difficult enough to breed and raise one or two types of dog successfully, but puppy mill operators don’t care one bit about maintaining breed standards or health in their dogs.
Like many things in life, finding a reputable dog breeder means choosing a specialist—that means picking a breeder who only does Doodles, and not someone who sells German Shepherds and Mastiffs and Calico cats on the side, too.
7. You have no idea who the parents are
If your breeder isn’t able to show you who your dog’s mother is (and preferably the father, too) you should be very skeptical that you’re using a reputable dog breeder.
Buying a dog without knowing where he or she came from is a recipe for disaster—some “breeders” don’t even breed their dogs at all, and instead act as middlemen for puppy mills. That means they might not have a clue about the dogs they’re selling, which is bad news for you.
Say NO to Puppy Mills
Sure, puppy mills might offer a cheaper alternative to professional breeders—in the short term.
But move past the first few months of dog ownership, and you’re looking at dogs with mounting medical costs, aggressive personalities that don’t respond to training, and horrible genetic disorders that no sane breeder would allow someone to purchase.
In the long run, buying from a real Doodle breeder saves you money, peace of mind, and the heartache of losing a cherished friend to an illness that could have been avoided with better care early on in their life.