Puppy Mills, Pet Stores, Breeders, and Shelters

Puppy mills, pet stores, breeders, and shelters are all sources of dogs, but they differ in several ways

What Are They and What Is the Difference?

Puppy Mills:

A “puppy mill” is a facility that breeds dogs for profit, with little attention paid to the animals well-being and breed standards. In the worst of the puppy mills, dogs are stacked up in cages, underfed, and given very little medical care. The dogs are continually bred, heat cycle after heat cycle, giving the female dog little or no time to recover before she is impregnated once again. The conditions under which these dogs are kept and bred often produce dogs with behavioral and medical problems. Not all puppy mills are large facilities, even the “backyard breeder” who breeds dogs only for profit and not for the benefit of the breed is considered by many to be a puppy mill. The prices you’ll pay to a puppy mill may be less than what you would have paid for a dog from a reputable breeder, but you may end up paying more in the long run as dogs from puppy mills are usually plagued with medical problems (resulting from a lack of proper medical care and malnutrition).

Pet Stores:

How much is that doggy in the window? Usually, a lot more than you think. Buying a dog from a pet store can ultimately result in several issues. Most pet stores source their puppies from commercial dog breeding operations, also known as puppy mills, where making a profit takes precedence over how the animals are treated. In a puppy mill, dogs are kept in filthy, overcrowded conditions and are denied healthy food, and basic veterinary care. Puppies sold at pet stores can often have serious health or behavioral problems, and some of the illnesses common to pet store puppies include zoonotic diseases, kennel cough or other illnesses which can be spread to other pets and humans.


If you are considering buying a dog from a breeder, it is important to do your research and find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. You can ask for references, visit the breeder’s facility, and ask to see the puppy’s parents to ensure that they are happy, healthy and well-cared for.

Reputable breeders often provide health guarantees for their puppies, which can give you peace of mind knowing that you are getting a healthy dog. If you are looking for a specific breed of dog, a breeder can provide you with a purebred dog that meets your requirements. Breeders can give support and advice throughout the dog’s life, which can be helpful for first-time dog owners.

Conversely, buying a dog from a breeder can be more expensive than adopting one from a shelter. Also, be aware that some breeders practice unethical breeding and may prioritize profit over the health and well-being of their dogs, which can lead to genetic disorders and other health problems in the puppies. Do your research!


Adopting a dog from a shelter can give a second chance to a dog in need. If you don’t really care about the breed of a dog and are simply looking for a companion, your local animal shelter is a great place to begin your search. Adopting a dog from a shelter is often more affordable than buying one from a breeder. Shelters have dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes, so you can find the perfect dog for your lifestyle. Many shelters allow you to play with a dog and spend some time with it before you make your decision as to whether or not you want to adopt it. A shelter wants make sure the fit is just right for both of you! Many shelter dogs are already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped, which can save you money on veterinary bills.

However, be aware that shelter dogs may have an unknown history, which can make it difficult to predict their behavior or know their medical history.

Overall, adopting a dog from a shelter can be a rewarding experience that saves a life and provides a loving home to a dog in need.

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