Three (More) Reasons to Avoid Pet Store Puppies

July 16, 2019

Every year, the ASPCA reminds dog lovers across the country that pet stores are not good places to buy a puppy. This past year, our list of reasons got even longer. Please help spread the word in honor of national No Pet Store Puppies Day, which is this Sunday, July 21!

  1. Pet store puppies make people sick.
    Over the past few years, pet store puppies were linked to an outbreak of a serious infection called campylobacter. More than 100 people were sickened in this multistate outbreak, and 99% of them reported contact with a pet store puppy the week before their symptoms started. In people, this infection usually causes diarrhea (frequently bloody), vomiting, stomach pain and fever. Even worse, the infections were difficult to treat with standard antibiotics.
  2. Retail pet sellers often lie.
    Pet stores use deceptive sales tactics like assuring customers that their breeders are all USDA-licensed, that they source from local breeders, or that their puppies have American Kennel Club (AKC) registration, when none of these claims guarantee that the puppies are not from puppy mills. USDA-licensed puppy breeders should meet certain criteria, but these are mere survival standards meant to barely keep a puppy alive long enough to be sold to a pet store. USDA inspections are rare, and violations typically go unpunished. Additionally, AKC registration means nothing other than that the parents of the puppy had AKC papers—it is not a guarantee that the puppy is healthy or treated well. Buyers should also beware of some pet sellers’ unethical, high-interest pet leasing schemes.
  3. Puppy-selling pet stores keep the cruel puppy mill industry alive.
    Cruel puppy breeders rely on pet stores to present a spotless, wholesome image so customers won’t think about where the puppies are born or how their parents are treated—and there are additional shady industries profiting behind the scenes. Dog brokers are middlemen who obtain puppies from puppy mills in bulk and distribute them to retailers. Given that pet store puppies most often come from facilities in rural areas of the Midwest and the South [map], transporters often truck puppies from breeding facilities to pet stores across the country. Not supporting retail pet stores will help cut off demand for cruelly bred puppies.

You can help cruelly bred dogs year-round by reminding everyone you know why pet stores are no place to acquire a new best friend. Please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to be alerted when we need you to speak up for puppy mill dogs.