How to avoid puppy farms and pet shops


What is a puppy farm?


A puppy farm is different to a backyard breeder in that it is a mass commercial operation, rather than one or two irresponsible individuals. Puppy farms are dedicated to the mass production of puppies and exist purely for profit. They care about making as much money as possible, through providing dogs and their litters with cheap, sub-standard care and living conditions. No care is given to the stud dogs, breeding dogs or their puppies. The dogs and litters live in cramped, dirty conditions and are never socialised with people or animals – they do not know what it is like to live in a loving, family home and are fearful of people.


Due to the irresponsible breeding of unhealthy dogs, neglect, awful living conditions and a distinct lack of essential health care such as vaccinations, deworming and treatments, puppies from puppy farms nearly always have awful health problems. They are physically, mentally and emotionally damaged and usually end up being euthanised or given up. However, many of the puppies will die due to ill health before or shortly after arriving in their new home.


It is not just the puppies who are treated terribly by puppy farmers. The mothers lead a miserable and unhealthy life. Despite the legal limit on the number of litters a dog can have being just four, puppy farmers will breed a dog as often and for as long as possible. When the dog is no longer able to reproduce, she’ll be abandoned.


Most of us would never knowingly buy from a puppy farm. However, it can be tempting to try and save a puppy by taking it away from such awful conditions. However, you should always resist this temptation, no matter how hard it might be. Not only will you most likely end up with a sick and psychologically wounded pet with many health and behaviour problems, buying from a puppy farm even with the best of intentions puts money into the hands of these terrible operations and allows them to continue their business.

How to spot a puppy farmer


As more and more people become informed about puppy farms and their cruelty, puppy farmers are finding way to trick potential buyers into purchasing a puppy from them, by hiding their operation. However, by knowing how puppy farmers operate you can spot them more easily and avoid obtaining a dog from them.


In order to try and trick you into thinking that they are reputable breeders, puppy farmers may ask to meet you away from their home. It is common for puppy farmers to show you litters in the back of their cars in service stations, car parks or other remote locations. They may even ask to meet you in their friend’s house in order to create the illusion that the dog has been brought up in a loving environment.


Puppy farmers will be very pushy and will give you a hard sell about why you should buy the puppy. A reputable breeder would never do this. They might come across as aggressive, moody or rude and make it difficult to say no.


The puppy may look unwell, have physical problems or seem scared and emotionally unbalanced, and the mother will probably not be present.


Many puppy farmers will breed larger parents in order to create big puppies. These big puppies look large for their age and can therefore be passed off as being older, meaning puppy farmers can sell them when they are very young – saving the puppy farmer money.

Puppy farmers tend to advertise anonymously over the internet on listing sites, via pet shops and in classified averts in newspapers.



Why you shouldn’t buy your dog from a pet shop


Reputable breeders aren’t concerned with making a profit on their litters. Their top priorities are to continue the line of show dogs by producing healthy pups which meet the breed’s standards. They will usually keep one of the litter’s puppies to show, and sell the rest as pets. A pet shop however, is completely different.


Pet shops are commercial entities and exist solely to make money. As a business they buy from a supplier at a low price and sell at a higher price to make a profit. The lower they buy their goods for, the more money they stand to make. While this might be good for the business owner, it is not good for the welfare of the animals that they are buying.


Pet shops do not work with ethical suppliers, they work with whoever can provide them with the cheapest goods. When it comes to buying puppies, this means puppy farmers.


Litters from puppy farms are cheap and there is a guaranteed steady stream of supply. So, don’t think that by getting your dog from a pet shop you are avoiding puppy farmers; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.


At best, you may end up with a completely different dog to what you thought you were sold, due to ignorant sellers and lying puppy farmers. By buying from a pet shop you can expect your dog to have genetic deformities, severe illnesses and deep psychological issues.


Your puppy may even have terrible housebreaking problems as puppies naturally learn to eat, sleep and eliminate in different places. However, when left in a cage in a pet shop they have no other option but to do all these things in the same place. The puppies are not given the opportunity to learn to separate their behaviours which can lead to trouble with housebreaking

Summary checklist:


Before buying a dog, you should know:

Why puppy farms should be avoided

How to spot a puppy farmer

Why you shouldn’t buy your dog from a pet shop




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