If you are considering getting a puppy, it is important to know the facts about puppy mills and why to avoid getting a puppy from one. The term Puppy Mill is used to describe large-scale commercial dog breeding, that focuses on maximizing profit by producing the highest number of puppies at the lowest cost possible. A business like this will not refer to themselves as a puppy mill, but instead call themselves dog breeders. Many of these mills either sell puppies to the public directly, sell to a dog broker, or sell to pet stores. Besides the many unethical breeding practices that occur in puppy mills, one of the biggest reasons to avoid them is the detrimental health problems that occur in these puppies. Also, leading to rescue dogs being euthanized due to lack of homes available as they were filled by Puppy Mills.
Dogs and puppies in puppy mills often suffer from a variety of painful and potentially deadly medical problems. This is due to overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and lack of proper veterinary care. Let’s look at the most common medical issues that arise.
It can be common for puppies even in the best of conditions to be infected with intestinal parasites, but puppies in puppy mills are often infected with multiple parasites. The conditions common to puppy mills, such as the use of stacked, wire cages, and limited space, allows for constant exposure to feces and urine of other dogs and therefore parasite transmission. These parasites include roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, hookworms, coccidia, and giardia. The infection of multiple parasites can lead to immune suppression of the puppies, improper growth, severe malnutrition, severe dehydration, and even death.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal illness and usually death, unless extensive treatment and hospitalization is initiated in the early stages. It is a common disease that we see in puppies that come from mills due to increased exposure of feces and lack of preventative veterinary care. Vaccination and sanitation protocols are not given high priority, which often leads to this deadly virus.
The long-term effects of confinement, lack of socialization, and mistreatment can also have psychological effects on dogs and puppies. These dogs have significant fears and phobias, aggression, compulsive and repetitive behaviors, increased sensitivity to being touched, and lack of socialization. These dogs have been mistreated and have had very little human or animal interaction. It is also common for pups to be separated from their mothers too early, missing out on vital social interaction from their mom and siblings. Behavioral issues can take years to lessen, and can even be a life-long struggle for some dogs.
The goal of a puppy mill is to make money, and because of this, genetic screening does not occur. Dogs are continuously bred despite having severe hereditary issues. Some common genetic health problems seen in puppy mill puppies include heart disease, kidney disease, joint deformities, and blood disorders. Many of these diseases may also only be obvious when the puppy has matured, so you may not be aware when first purchasing the puppy. These genetic issues not only shorten the dogs’ lifespan, but may require life-long treatment.
In addition to most common problems of puppy mill dogs, these animals can also have physical injuries due to their housing, kennel cough, pneumonia, ectoparasites, bacterial skin infections, dental disease, and more.
While efforts are underway to eradicate puppy mills, there is still a long way to go. You can help by making adoption your first choice! There are plenty of healthy puppies for adoption in shelters and rescues, that all undergo complete health exams, routine preventative care, and socialization.
Dog Spotted has provided a rescue resource for New Yorkers, click here and you will find a list of reputable rescues and shelters and a filtering system to find if you can foster to adopt, or a breed-specific rescue to find your paw-fect dog. If you want to learn more about Dog Rescuing and Puppy Mill abuse, click here to read a detailed account from an undercover investigator who shines a bright light on these horrific practices.
If you cannot find the dog you want and do turn to a breeder, know that a responsible breeder will want to screen potential buyers to ensure their puppies are going to good homes. Doing your research can help ensure that you are getting a healthy puppy, and not supporting the puppy mill industry.