Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "Impulse Buying" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog

Impulse Buying

by Charlotte Peltz

Based on the foregone conclusion that all puppies are cute, pet stores and street vendors have an easy time selling their puppies. But, buyers beware!

In the U.S., there is a lot of publicity about puppy mills and still people will go to a pet store and buy a puppy. Often -- most of the time -- the price is higher than if the pup were purchased from a reputable breeder. Puppies that come from puppy mills have been born to bitches whose only life is to produce puppies. When she slides in her production she is killed. Pups are raised in dreadful conditions, shipped in cramped conditions with the idea that a given percentage will survive and will hopefully be sold before their health problems are evident.

What we are most likely to encounter here, compared to puppy mills, is some person who breeds his bitch to whatever male of the same breed is available, and then the pups are taken to the pet store to sell. No health checks have been made to help assure the pups of a good life, free of the pain of various genetic diseases. Usually the pups have been separated from the bitch as young as three weeks of age,and are often in the pet shop at four weeks! If you have read my articles that refer to socialization, you will instantly recognize just how horrible this is for that puppy and its prospects of a happy life.

No effort is made to determine if the prospective owner understands the breed's characteristics and problems. No effort is made to see if the pup will have a good home. By contrast, a responsible breeder carefully selects prospective puppy parents for the best possible health, and carefully screens buyers of those important pups.

For example, most large breeds of dogs (and any number of medium sized breeds) are victims of canine hip dysplasia. The ONLY way to determine its existence is with radiographs of the hips. All breeds with a history of dysplasia should be radiographed before being bred. To be sure, serious forms of the disease are clearly evident to the eyes of a knowledgeable person, but often dogs have it and show no signs of pain until five or six years of age -- long after having been bred and passed along the disease. Responsible breeders radiograph. Next time you see some pet store pups, ask to see the radiographs of the parents' hips!!!!

There are, of course, many other inherited health problems. Dogs deserve to enter this world with as great a chance of being pain free as we can possibly give them. Do your part. Do not buy from pet stores or from someone selling pups on the street. Cute is one thing. Sick and destined to live in pain is quite another one. Buying such pups is not rescuing them -- it is encouraging those selling them to go produce another batch!

"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.

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