Buying a pedigree dog or cat is a really bad idea. Both for you, and your pet! Here’s why buying from pet stores sucks
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
There can be little doubt that most people love animals. In America alone, nearly 62 percent of Americans have a pet at home, and surely many more who don’t have pets wish they could.
These shelters do all they can to house every animal they find, but most are already packed to capacity and struggle to operate with their limited funding. Paradoxically, despite these shelters being literally overrun with animals, only a small number – around 20 percent – of Americans adopt their dogs from shelters.
So where are the other 72 percent coming from? Sadly, breeders and pet stores. Although you can find virtually any breed of animal in any local shelter, consumers continue to pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for dogs. And they buy them from unethical people who make profits from the sale.
In doing so, they believe they’re somehow getting a “superior” pet. However, not only is this untrue, it’s irresponsible and unethical.
Here are 5 reasons we think breeders and the pets stores that buy their animals suck.
Why Breeders And Pet Stores Are Bad
1. Sick Practices Mean Sick Pets
Pet store dogs usually come from puppy mills. These have gained notoriety for treating thoroughbred animals as breeding machines. Most puppy mill breeders put profits above ethics and humane animal care. The animals are often denied veterinary care, and kept in small cages and/or cramped conditions.
Often, puppies are malnourished because the water and food they are given are contaminated. Puppies in mills can even be found with bleeding or swollen paws as they try to claw their way out of their tiny wire cages. Tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration, and eye lesions are but a few of the ailments commonly facing dogs bred in crowded puppy mills.
Sadly, they’re all too common. In America alone it’s estimated that every year about 2.11 million puppies originated from puppy mills. This is especially outrageous when you consider that 3 million are killed in shelters because they are too full due to people buying animals instead!
2. Selfish Human Demands Destroy Dogs
Currently, teacup dogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs are ‘hot’. The result is further inbreeding to meet rising but temporary demand thanks to ‘pet trends’. This has led to horrible genetic defects like excessive skin folds, enlarged hearts, harelips and breathing difficulties. The most inbred suffer terribly before they’re killed.
Wondering how these horrible trends start? The film industry is to blame a bit, with films like 101 Dalmatians causing demand for ‘Designer Dogs’. But we can point a finger to celebrities, too.
Think of how socialites such as Paris Hilton have created pet trends, for example. She was the one to launch the so called “purse dog.” In other words, ‘teacup’ Chihuahuas, Maltese, Pomeranians, Yorkies and ShihTzus.
These animals are extremely inbred to begin with, meaning they’re prone to health issues. But the ‘teacup’ versions are born like this: the “runts” of the litters are bred to make the smallest animal possible. The result? “Health risks for these tiny dogs are significant,” says Dr. Judy Morgan, a holistic veterinarian and author of several books. “This is not a natural breeding situation.”
When you breed for the way the dog looks instead of for the healthiest genetic stock, health problems emerge.
- heart defects
- collapsing trachea
- respiratory problems
- digestive problems
- early death
In short, these poor animals, which are bred for aesthetics, suffer terribly during their lifetimes, and die young, in the best-case scenario. The most deformed puppies are just killed. All for our selfish demands and silly trends.
3. Crankier Cats
Pet stores suck for cat lovers, too, unfortunately. The conditions in kitten-mills are just as horrific as the ones of puppy mills. Cats are locked up in filthy pens, victims of this purebred money-making machine.
As a result, not only is their health jeopardised, but the mistreatments they go through strongly shapes their character.
It has has been proven that kitties raised in mills tend to have more defensive behaviour. They also suffer more fear and anxiety. Furthermore, because they are never trained, cats from the mill may have difficulty adjusting to the schedule of a domestic animal.
For example? That means not knowing hot to use a litter box, since they’re used to eliminating in the same cage they are locked up in night and day.
4. Expensive Health Issues
If you buy a bred animal from a pet store, be prepared to pay massive vet bills. That’s because pedigree animals suffer from inbred defaults that
Not only do female dogs get treated like baby machines by breeders, sometimes being forced to have 2-3 litters a year, but as Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD says, she sees many health issues in purebred dogs.
These include: liver shunts, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia and much more. All of which are less likely to be found in the ‘mutts’ you’d find in a shelter.
Indeed, the inbreeding of animals done at puppy mills can lead to terrible genetic defaults. No wonder almost all purebred breeds die 3-5 years sooner than ‘mutts’.
Owners of pint-sized pups have to stay vigilant
If tiny dogs – so called ‘teacup’ dogs – miss even one meal, their blood sugar levels could drop dangerously low. This could cause seizures and even death, says Lichtenberg They also have trouble keeping their bodies warm in cooler weather, which is why you see so many teacup dogs in sweaters.
The dogs’ small bones can break easily, which means owners have to be on alert not to step on them or allow them to jump from too-high surfaces.
“Traumatic events can be life-ending for these dogs,” says Lichtenberg. “Surviving a traffic accident, a fall from the furniture or the owner’s arms, or an attack from a larger dog is less likely.”
Teacup dogs’ low blood sugar and body temperature can also lead to problems in the operating room. Doctors have to make sure the operation doesn’t outlast the animal’s blood sugar reserves or provide them with the necessary supplements.
5. The Saddest Part
This is the biggest reason why pet stores suck, and breeders do, too.
Whether they like it or not, anyone who buys a pet from a shop or a breeder is contributing to animal ‘euthanasia’, shelter overcrowding and perpetuating health defects in animals.
The best thing you can do if you love animals is adopt any animal from a shelter. But if you really, really want a purebred dog like a Bulldog or Poodle, all is not lost.
As Nadia Bizzotto, animal advocate and whippet enthusiast strongly recommends: “Even if you love purebreds, consider rescuing. Every dog breed has a rescue group that will work to save those breeds from overcrowded, noisy shelters and re-home them. If you are looking for a purebred dog, contact local rescue groups that specialise in placing that breed.”
To Sum Up
In conclusion, pet stores suck. But so do breeders, and frankly, so do people who insist on buying from them.
Animals are pure love, and their numbers are too high because of we humans breeding them and failing to sterilise them. Buying from breeders is simply bad. It contributes not only to ever higher numbers of dogs and cats in shelters, but also to genetic deformities.
If you truly love animals, why would you want to be part of that?
Images: Ban the Breeder, Wikicommons