Many people have heard of puppy mills and know they are bad — but there still isn’t much general awareness of just how bad these mills can be.
Once you know some of the dirty secrets of puppy mills, you will likely never send another dollar their way again. In fact, once you know what goes on with many puppy mills, you’ll be far more inclined to adopt an unwanted animal and save a life!
Consider the following unforgivable offenses that puppy mills don’t want you to find out.
1. The Red Flags
Puppy mills will flash some warning signs, but they’ll hope you don’t notice. There are actually plenty of red flags, but puppy mills want you to focus on the cute puppy in front of you and fall in love.
Their theory is if you fall in love with the puppy, you won’t notice the warning signs or simply won’t care. Some red flags include not being able to see where the puppy lives, not meeting the parents and not getting easy answers to questions. Read Petful’s extensive list of red flags.
2. Health Guarantee
Some puppy mills say their puppies have a health guarantee, but they hope you don’t realize that this guarantee means nothing.
In many cases they will ask you to sign something, and the fine print means they won’t get in trouble if your puppy gets sick right away. In other instances there will be tons of hoops for you to jump through to get the guarantee. And let’s look at it this way: What kind of a “guarantee” should we really put on an innocent animal’s life?
3. Health Record
Just as with a health guarantee, you shouldn’t automatically believe any health record. Some puppy mills will promise you a health record on their letterhead. Although this sounds official, it really means they are trying to cut costs and probably haven’t even taken the puppy to the veterinarian. Beware of purchasing a puppy that hasn’t seen the vet.
A lot of puppy mills will say that all of their puppies come with the standard vaccines. The problem: Fast-forward a few weeks or months and your puppy may get sick with something they should be vaccinated against. This is because puppy mills frequently lie about the vaccines — those vaccines hurt their profits.
5. USDA Approved
Breeders and puppy mills will say that they are USDA approved, but in reality that means nothing other than that they can sell their puppies to pet stores.
Even worse, the requirements to get USDA approval are incredibly minimal, including providing only limited food and water and a tiny cage.
Don’t Miss: 10 Groups Working to Shut Down Puppy Mills
6. Raised On a Large Property
Puppy mills are experts at using word play to hide their true nature.
Pay close attention if a breeder uses the phrase “raised on a large property” or something similar — this doesn’t mean that the puppy has access to the space. It may simply be a large space with plenty of small cages. It may also mean the animal was raised in a kennel and not socialized.
7. Poor Conditions
Most puppy mills don’t want you to realize how poorly they treat the animals, and this means they will do whatever they can so you don’t go to the facility. Always be cautious if a breeder says their place is hard to get to and you should meet somewhere else.
8. Litter Records
Any responsible breeder will know how many litters a female dog has had and will always space them out responsibly for her health. Puppy mills don’t care about the health of the mom; they just want her to produce more puppies. This means that many of them won’t even know how many litters she has had.
9. Not Enough Attention
Dogs at puppy mills tend to not get enough attention when they are young, and this includes opportunities for exercise, play and socialization. But puppy mills don’t want you to know this, so they hide the fact that they only get out to feed the puppies and rarely, if ever, play with them.
10. They Just Want Money
The final thing on this list of what puppy mills hope you don’t realize (and there are plenty more things that didn’t make the cut): They are only in it for the money. Big surprise, right? This is why they won’t always ask for your personal details. Instead, they just ask if you have the money and arrange a pickup. If that breeder actually cared about the animals, they would want them to go to a good home and at least ask you basic questions.
Additional Resources From Petful
- Common Health and Behavior Problems in Puppy Mill Dogs
- How One Impulse Buy at a Pet Store Became a Nightmare
- Interview With Marc Abraham, Anti–Puppy Farming Advocate
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