Most people probably haven’t even heard of puppy farms. If they have they probably haven’t given them much thought. However, if you only ever remember one piece of pet health information, you should remember never to buy a puppy from one.
Puppy farms are places, often well away from towns, where unscrupulous dealers put profits before dog welfare. The female dogs which breed in puppy farms are treated in a similar way to battery hens. The mother dogs are kept in small pens, never see natural light, are not given space or time to exercise and a bred so frequently that they fall pregnant straight after giving birth most of the time. These female dogs’ bodies are weak due to being bred too often, never being able to exercise and being fed the absolute minimum food for their needs. Cramped conditions mean that disease amongst dogs on farms is rife, compromising pet health.
Breeders who are keen to make as much profit as quickly as possible ensure that mother dogs fall pregnant as soon as possible after giving birth. In addition to this cruelty, they also remove puppies from their mother’s care far too quickly in order to make a profit sooner. As a result, puppies from puppy farms are likely to be weaker and less healthy than other dogs. That’s if you’re lucky: they have probably been exposed to potentially life threatening diseases in the puppy farms and are likely to have at least minor behavioural problems because of their unhappy life at the puppy farm.
In a survey of dog owners, 95% of them said they’d never consider buying a dog from a puppy farm. Yet, some animal welfare charities suspect that as many as 900,000 people may have bought their dog from a puppy farm, through a dealer or pet shop without realising. Many dog owners buy from internet or newspaper adverts as well as pet shops which are often supplied by puppy farms.
Advice from the kennel club is to buy directly from breeders to guarantee pet health. Dog dealers are supplied by puppy farms and often pose as simple breeders, so when looking for newspaper adverts be wary of anyone selling more than one breed of dog, as they may be dealers. When buying a puppy from a breeder, always insist on seeing the puppy with its mother and any siblings. If a breeder makes excuses about why you cannot see the mother, walk away, they are almost certainly a dealer. The kennel club has a record of pedigree puppies which you can search should you want to buy one.
With 150 stray dogs killed every week by local authorities who cannot cope with demand for unwanted pet services, mass breeding of dogs in farms becomes even less justified. This is why many charities advise those people looking to buy a dog to consider getting a rescue dog. They may not be pedigrees, but this actually means they are likely to be healthier and you will be able to guarantee that they’ve been looked after in the rescue centre rather than treated as a commodity by dog farmers.