A recent news article by NBC, NY Pet Store Supplied By Puppy Mills, has New York pet owners concerned about purchasing pets from local pet stores. It might even have some rethinking that furry Christmas gift they were planning to give. Most pet stores probably do not personally visit the breeders that supply their stores, and they have to rely on USDA and AKC inspection reports which are based on regulations that are fairly lenient. I doubt that most pet stores knowingly purchase unhealthy puppies, but there are some questions you should ask before buying your pet to make sure that it is purchased from a reliable source. First, the pet store should have all of the breeder’s information, and should be readily willing to give you this information. Second, the pet store should encourage you to have the puppy checked by a veterinarian of your choice within 72 hours of purchase, and should be willing to let you return the puppy if it is found to be unhealthy. Finally, if a pet store send you home with medication at the time you purchase a pet, a red flag should go up. Your puppy should be free of respiratory viruses and parasites at the time of purchase.
To avoid the worry of knowing if your puppy comes from a puppy mill or not, another option is to adopt from a rescue group or shelter. There are always many healthy mixed breed dogs and cats available for adoption, and in general, these animals are healthier in the long run than a purchased pure bred pet. I would still recommend having the pet checked by your veterinarian within 72 hours, and the rule of thumb about adopting a pet that is on medication still applies. To find out more about adopting a puppy or kitten, check out this article: Adopting Instead of Buying a Pet .