11 Shocking Reasons Not to Buy a Pet Shop Puppy!

You've decided that you want a new dog and an obvious question to ask is should you buy a puppy from a pet shop?  You may have even seen a cute puppy for sale in your local pet shop.  With so many options available to you you should definitely think again.  Keep reading to find out 11 reasons you should not buy a puppy from a pet shop.


If you want to know what your options are for getting a new dog then check out my next article all about how to buy a healthy puppy.  For now though, here are my 10 reasons not to buy a puppy from a pet shop with a new bonus at the end.

why not to buy a puppy from a pet shop - 11 reasons

No responsible or ethical breeder would send their puppies to a pet store

Regardless of what you might be told by the pet store employees, a good breeder would never either want or need to sell their puppies through a petshop.  Petshops typically like to have their puppies from a very young age as the younger they are the cuter they look and so the faster they are likely to sell.

A responsible breeder would not remove their puppies from their mother before 6 weeks at the earliest, preferably 8 weeks.  They would also hate to see their puppies shut up in small cages, often with little stimulation.  A responsible breeder would much rather interview any potential owners themselves to make sure they are suitable and able to look after a puppy properly.

You are not rescuing them

This is a common, and understandable sentiment from people who know they are not being looked after properly; but you are actually buying them.  By giving money to the pet shop you are giving money to the puppy mills that breed them in 90% of cases.  This keeps puppy mills in business and so allows them to continue producing puppies in terrible circumstances.  By buying one of these puppies you might be saving that individual but you are also allowing many more to suffer.  Not just puppies but also their mothers and fathers.

You might be told that the puppy comes from a licenced breeder.  This likely doesn't mean what you think it does.  It simply means that the person breeding the puppies has completed the required paperwork that allows them to function as a business.  It does not say anything about the conditions that the mothers, fathers or puppies are kept in or how they are treated.

rescuing a pet shop puppy supports puppy mills

Before being displayed in the petshop they are generally kept in crowded, squalid conditions that are ideal breeding grounds for diseases like parvovirus

It may be that unknowingly the pup is already on antibiotics to make them appear healthy.  It might though be that it is only a couple of days after being taken home that your pup shows signs of being unwell.  this is because many diseases have an incubation period and appear normal for a few days after catching the illness.  In the case of parvovirus this incubation period is typically 3-7 days.

Petshop puppies are generally removed from mother too early

I've already touched on this.  Even if they aren't unwell when you take them home, having been taken off their mother at a very young age means their nutritional demands may not have been properly met and it also means they are likely to have recieved only a small amount of their mothers immune protection.  This leaves them more susceptible to illness until their immune system is mature, a period that could be many weeks or even a couple of months depending on their age.

If a puppy from a responsible breeder becomes unwell soon after rehoming then in many cases they will pick up the cost of treatment.  They want whats best for the puppy and they will want to protect their reputation.

Petshop conditions are seldom ideal

They might be kept in small cages, isolated from any other puppies or proper mental stimulation.  They might be forced to toilet in this tiny area and left with it overnight until they are made more presentable before the store opens in the morning.  Again it is tempting to rescue a puppy from this but in reality all that does is encourage the pet shop to keep selling more puppies and so the cycle is repeated.

As well as physical disease, a puppy mill and petshop puppy is more likely to suffer from mental disease

Poor socialization + the conditions of their early life make underlying behavioral problems a real concern.  This is not to be ignored as behavioral problems are the biggest cause of re-homing or euthanasia in dogs under the age of 3.

Socialization is absolutely vital.  If you are thinking about getting a puppy then you must have a plan for this.  Make sure you read my article to find out how to socialize your new puppy.

You will have no knowledge about the mother or father to know what type of dog they might become

It's hard to know the exact breed of a puppy.  This means that a puppy may be sold as a certain breed that costs more and turn out to be some kind of mix.  This in itself might be no bad thing as mixed breeds are often more healthy (assuming they survive all of the other problems we've discussed!) but it's not what you payed a lot of money for.  

I also know that good breeders whose puppies later develop a problem which might be genetic may contribute or pay for the costs associated with that condition.  While this is not guaranteed it is definitely not going to happen in a pet shop puppy.

Toilet training can be more difficult

This is because more often than not they have become used to defecating anywhere from their experience trapped in small cages.  There was no option to toiled away from their bed or food so they haven't started to learn this is what they should do.  This can be stressful for both you and your new puppy as they are also likely to be mentally fragile and not cope well with you becoming stressed out with their behavior.  They will learn but it will take longer.

buying a pet shop puppy simply encourages them to sell more

There are millions of shelter dogs and rescue dogs out there needing homes

These are all ages and all breeds.  Why not then consider truly rescuing a dog in need without supporting puppy mills.

Pet shop puppies are not really cheaper

They will likely have increased health costs outweighing any saving in purchase price.  Even if they are healthy and avoid all of the problems I've discussed, then and saving compared to buying from a responsible breeder or adopting from a shelter is still tiny compared to the cost of owning a dog.  

In choosing to share your life with a dog you are accepting the responsibility of providing everything they need from food, toys and bedding to training, socialization classes and vet costs that include preventative healthcare as well as if they get sick or suffer an injury.  Any saving in purchase price is insignificant compared to a lifetime of care for your new dog.

So those are my 10 reasons why you should avoid getting a pet store puppy.  As promised though here is my number 11.  It might just be illegal!  Lucy's law in the UK is brand new legislation that will require all sellers to show potential buyers the puppies alongside their mothers before the sale takes place.  The aim of this is to stop puppy farms and prevent the shocking cases of animal cruelty that are exposed every year.  I can only hope that more countries pass similar laws to Lucy's and the result is that puppy mills and puppy farms everywhere go out of business.

So that's one option crossed of the list.  Your next step should be to read just where and how do you buy a healthy puppy!

If you have any questions or if there are any topics you would like me to cover please leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.  Also make sure you sign up to my newsletter to make sure you don't miss out on future articles just like this one and also get your free copy of my ultimate weight and diet calculator.

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