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10 Reasons Not to Buy A Dog from a Pet Store

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How much is that doggy in the window? Whatever the price, it's probably not worth it, say the folks at Here's why ....

1) Bad health: Because so many pet-store pups come from puppy mills, they are not the result of careful breeding and they are usually not well-cared-for before coming to the store. Some common illnesses and conditions are neurological problems, eye problems, hip dysplasia, blood disorders and canine parvovirus.

2) Behavioral problems: Because breeding is indiscriminate, behavioral problems are not weeded out generationally. You'll also find that a pet store's staff is not likely to have any training in dealing with behavior issues, so the puppies continue to do the wrong things --which become habit.

3) No socialization: Pet-store pups are often pulled away from their litters when they're far too young, often at only four or five weeks. The earliest a puppy should be separated from his pack is eight weeks, and most reputable breeders will say at least 10 weeks. This lack of time socializing with siblings means that the puppy will not develop important canine skills. Likewise, a puppy who has not been handled by people from about three weeks will not naturally socialize well with them.

4) The downfall of the standard: In a broad sense, purchasing a puppy from a pet store and then breeding her means you are ruining the standard of that breed, because the previous breeders were not concerned with it.

5) Lack of information: A pet-store staff member is not an expert on a breed, and is often not well-informed about dogs in general. Purchasing a puppy from a store means you will not get the lowdown on that breed, and it's likely that you won't get help with any behavioral issues or other questions, either.

6) Return at your puppy's peril: Most pet stores do offer a warranty of sorts, wherein you can bring the puppy back if he has problems. They don't tend to tell customers that once a puppy is returned, his fate is usually euthanization.

7) Housebreaking is a chore: Pet-store puppies have spent all their short lives in cages. They do not have the opportunity to develop the natural canine instinct of eliminating away from their food and bed. This causes problems when you try to housebreak them.

8) What you see isn't necessarily what you get: If you see what looks like a Maltese in the window, you may find that, as she grows, there's a little Maltese in there somewhere, but mostly she looks like a terrier. In other words, there is no guarantee that you will get a purebred dog, if that's what you're after.

9) Poor value: A puppy from a pet store generally costs between $400 and $2,000. This is often more than you'd pay a reputable breeder, who can ensure that you get a healthy puppy and provide support afterward.

10) Questionable pedigree: You're paying for a pedigree (or AKC papers) when you buy a puppy from a pet store, but it's very likely that it's not genuine. If the papers are genuine, it still doesn't mean the puppy is a good example of its breed -- you need a reputable breeder to prove that.

Where do you plan to get your next pup?

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