Recognising and Avoiding Puppy Mills


Many canines continue to be bred over and over in horrible conditions throughout Australia, and when they can no longer produce offspring for profit, they are either abandoned or killed. While various Australian states have already set out cruelty standards and codes of practice to protect their animals, puppy mills remain prevalent in the breeding world. So, what exactly are puppy mills and why are they so bad?

Puppy mills are large, commercial breeding facilities that operate for the sole purpose of making profits from producing puppies for resale. These places often keep dozens, if not hundreds, of breeding canines in small cages for the entire duration of their lives with little or no human attention, medical care, nutrition, exercise, grooming, sanitation, or socialisation. Conditions in these facilities are inhumane, and females are bred continuously with no time to recover in between. Furthermore, the dogs are filthy, malnourished, and suffer cruelty.

Unfortunately, spotting puppy mills is not easy because they can look like anything. Owners of these facilities are clever and can easily make their dogs appear home-bred. If you want to avoid buying from a puppy mill, below are some tips:

#1 Never buy from a pet store

You may get tempted to buy from a pet store when you see an adorable puppy staring back at you from the other side of its window. Bear in mind, however, that dogs from a place like this usually come from a puppy mill. This is common knowledge to many pet owners because several have already been duped into buying unhealthy and poor-tempered dogs from businesses like this in the past.

#2 Ask to see the home and meet the parents of the puppies

One of the easiest ways to spot a puppy mill is if its breeder prefers to meet elsewhere with you than in their place of business. Unlike ethical breeders of puppies who would be willing to show you around their property, puppy mill breeders will likely set a meetup with you in a public place, like a parking lot, to complete the sale.

Similarly, if your breeder refuses to let you see the mother or father of the puppy you are interested in adopting, consider it a red flag. All reputable breeders will always make it their responsibility to introduce you not only to your desired puppy’s parents but also to its siblings.

#3 Check if your seller is breeding multiple dog breeds

It is uncommon for one to find an ethical breeder that breeds more than one type of dog at once. This is because the amount of time and effort put into ethical puppy breeding is a lot, which is why most only choose one to focus on.

If you are speaking or meeting with your breeder for the first time, it is recommended that you first ask them how many dog breeds they have. Puppy mill breeders breed multiple dogs or have many designer dogs available, which is a sign that you should walk away.

#4 Don’t bring home a puppy that is less than eight weeks old

Rule of thumb: puppies should never be separated from their mother or litter until they are at least eight weeks of age. This is because it takes a full eight weeks before a puppy is completely weaned. Furthermore, the pooch may suffer from health problems or develop behavioural and emotional issues over time. If your breeder is eager to sell its puppies young, find another breeder.

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