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July 21st is No Pet Store Puppies Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about puppy mills. 

In this article, we’ll remind you why a pet store is often a bad place to buy a puppy and offer suggestions for where you can find your next four-legged pal. 

What are Puppy Mills?

Puppy mills are mass breeding facilities that typically house hundreds of dogs for the sole purpose of producing puppies. Dogs in puppy mills usually live in horrible and unsanitary conditions. They rarely, if ever, are given the chance to leave their cages, which are typically very crowded.

These dogs are bred endlessly with no mind paid to the genetic makeup of the puppies. No care is taken to control the breeding stock to ensure genetic defects and diseases are not perpetuated. The puppies produced are then sent to pet stores where they are sold at premium prices, thus perpetuating the existence of puppy mills.

Why you Shouldn't Buy Puppy Mills from the Store

It can be common that pet stores source their puppies from puppy mills, which is why it’s best to avoid purchasing puppies from these shops. Because no care is given to the breeding process, puppy mill puppies often suffer from health issues and genetic defects. 

While it may be tempting to give one of these pups a loving home, remember that by buying a puppy mill puppy, you’re supporting that industry. 

What are Some Ethical Ways to Find a Puppy for your Family?

Fortunately, there are all kinds of places where you can find a puppy without supporting the puppy mill industry. Whether you’re looking for a purebred pup or mixed breed, the following places are just a few examples of where you can find your new furry friend.  

Ethical Breeders

There are plenty of ethical dog breeders who take care to ensure that both their breed stock and their puppies are happy and healthy. Many breeders have only a few breeding dogs and produce a small number of litters each year. They often house the pups in their homes and treat the dogs as part of the family. 

The breeding dogs are carefully screened for health issues to ensure the puppies are free of hereditary diseases or ailments. Don’t hesitate to visit a breeder’s facility in person, just to be sure that your pup is coming from a responsible source.

Animal Rescue Organizations

Animal rescue organizations are a wonderful place to find both adult dogs and puppies. 

If you have your heart set on a particular breed, there are many breed-specific rescue organizations, which work to help admirers of that breed to find the right dog for their family. These organizations can be an incredible resource for pet owners, as they have such a wealth of breed-specific knowledge and experience to share. 

Rescue-Backed Pet Stores

You’ll be glad to learn that there are humane pet stores that do sell pups from ethical sources. In fact, in some states, like California, pet stores are only allowed to sell pets from rescue organizations

It’s always important to do your research to ensure that a pet store is ethical, even if they claim to work with rescue organizations.

The Humane Society of the US is working to making it easier to identify which pet stores are puppy-friendly by creating a puppy-friendly pet store list. Just input your zip code in the database and it will reveal the responsible pet stores nearest to where you live.

Typically, these pet stores work with rescues by providing visibility for dogs that are part of the rescue organization. Often there will be a liaison from the rescue on-site to answer any questions you may have about their pets.

If you wish to adopt one of the dogs, there may be an application you must fill out, and it could take a few days before it is approved. While you’re probably eager to take your chosen canine pal home, recognize that the rescue is working hard to ensure he ends up in a safe and loving home. 

Consider Investing in Puppy Insurance  

Looking for ways to keep your new puppy happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance. Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves.  Get your free quote today.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.