If you are ready to welcome a furry friend into your family, you are likely to be wondering whether it is better to get a pet from a pet store or a breeder. You should know the differences between these two options so you can make an informed decision about where to find your new pet. Here is a quick guide to help you choose between a pet store and a breeder.
The Variety Show
Walking into a pet store is a wholly different experience from walking into a breeder’s home. A pet store typically stocks a wide variety of pets for sale, including dogs, cats, fish, birds, and reptiles. Many stores also sell supplies and accessories for your pets. Meanwhile, a breeder may only have one or two litters of puppies available at any one time and seldom sell peripheral items.
Previously, people who were looking to choose from a range of pets would have to go to a pet store as breeders did not offer the variety that shops did. However, platforms such as Pawrade have changed this by making it easier for potential pet owners to connect with breeders who specialize in specific breeds so that they can choose the exact puppy that they want to bring home.
A Question of Ethics
Dogs for sale at pet stores may have been obtained from puppy mills where they are bred before being sold to unsuspecting customers. Puppy mills are facilities where dogs are bred purely for profit with no concern for the welfare of the animals involved. The dogs in such facilities are poorly cared for and often suffer from conditions such as malnutrition, mange, and mental trauma.
Breeding dogs in such conditions is extremely cruel but many puppy mills continue to operate undetected even in the US. While some pet stores have pledged not to sell dogs that are the product of puppy mills, many others provide no information on the origins of the animals that they are selling. This can make it difficult for consumers to be sure that they are not buying a puppy mill dog.
That is not to say that all breeders are good. Some disreputable breeders also keep their animals in appalling conditions and use unethical methods to produce as many puppies as possible. However, consumers can visit breeders in their homes or turn to websites like Pawrade to find reputable breeders who have been proven to provide a good quality of life for their breeding dogs.
A Healthy Perspective
Not purchasing a dog from a puppy mill is not merely an ethical concern. Often, puppies who have come out of these facilities develop serious health problems due to in-breeding, the poor health of their parents, and substandard care. This means that they are much more likely to have genetic defects and require expensive veterinary care than dogs that have been bred responsibly.
In general, puppies should not be sold before they are eight weeks old to ensure that they are fully weaned and vaccinated against dangerous diseases. Sadly, pet stores and breeders may sometimes (illegally) sell underaged puppies as these seem cuter to uneducated customers. However, these dogs are more likely to fall seriously ill or develop behavioral issues from being separated from their mother and littermates too early.
At What Price?
Price is another point of difference when comparing pet stores to breeders. A pet purchased from a pet store is likely to cost significantly more than the same animal from a breeder. This is because pet stores must pay the breeders for the animals that they stock as well as the costs associated with running their business such as rent, utility bills, and staff salaries.
Breeders, on the other hand, much less of these expenses as they operate out of their homes. That said, some breeders who deal in rare breeds or sought-after dogs with a specific lineage can demand top dollar for their puppies. This is because there is a very limited supply of these puppies. In addition, the puppies and their parents are usually given extremely high-quality diets and care.
When it comes to the price tag of your potential pet, you need to think of what contributes to its value. Purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder may sometimes be more expensive but it is worth it for a healthy animal that has been raised in a loving home environment. Some breeders may even be happy to negotiate on price if they believe that you can provide a good forever home for their puppy.
Pet Stores vs. Breeders: Who Wins?
Ultimately, there are advantages and disadvantages to both kinds of businesses. The most important factor to consider is transparency. It is important to look for establishments that are willing to demonstrate the living environment and conditions of the parents as well as provide extensive health and breeding certifications.
Getting a new furry friend is an exciting affair. As an animal lover, you must ensure that your purchase does not perpetuate a cruel industry. Do your research before you buy and always ask questions about the origin and medical history of your new companion. This way, you will not only have a healthier and happier forever friend but protect the lives of other animals at the same time.