A puppy mill, or puppy farm, is a large, profit-driven dog breeding operation. These facilities frequently operate with little regard for the animals’ health and welfare. Puppy mills are like many other large businesses–only in it for the money. The difference is their inventory is living, breathing puppies.
Currently, hundreds of thousands of dogs are born into puppy mills each year. While many of these dogs survive and are sold to pet stores, others aren’t so lucky. Because of the substandard conditions that many of these puppies are forced to live in, many die or are too unhealthy to be sold. Unsafe living conditions, as well as irresponsible breeding practices, are what makes puppy mills such a large problem.
Inside of a Puppy Mill
While every puppy mill is different, their basic set-up is usually similar. Puppy mills are farms or facilities that house hundreds or thousands of dogs and puppies. The dogs are commonly forced to live in small, filthy wire cages that are frequently stacked on top of one another. These puppies are not taken out for walks, played with, or socialized. Many times, they don’t even receive proper care from a licensed veterinary technician.
If a normal pet owner, or just a normal person for that matter, were to walk into a puppy mill, they would be disgusted. First of all, these operations smell horribly. The dogs are often forced to live in their own filth and are rarely bathed. They are also extremely loud. Imagine hundreds of puppies barking for attention, food and water, and medical care.
However, not every puppy mill is the average, unsanitary facility. Some facilities are decently clean and appear to be operating humanely. These are generally referred to as commercial breeders.
The problem is most commercial breeders do not breed dogs based on their genetics. They simply breed dogs as fast as they can, in order to make as much money as possible. Responsible dog breeders pay attention to blood lines and consider a dog’s health before deciding to breed the animal. This helps them produce puppies that are strong, well-mannered, and healthy. Even sanitary puppy mills usually fail to breed responsibly.
Problems that Puppy Mill Puppies Often Face
Puppy mill puppies are commonly sold to pet stores with a range of health problems. These puppies frequently suffer from:
● Fleas and ticks
● Respiratory infections
● Kennel Cough
● Intestinal problems
Puppy mill puppies are also at an increased risk of suffering from long term health problems, including:
● Respiratory conditions
● Kidney problems
● Heart disease
● Hearing loss
● Eye problems
● Musculoskeletal disorders
● Blood disorders
Many of these health problems are due to irresponsible breeding or a lack of health care. It’s also important for people to understand that puppy mills produce more than physically unhealthy puppies, they also produce puppies with behavioral problems.
It’s important for dogs to be adequately socialized when they are young. Being kept in a small cage, with little human interaction is hardly proper socialization. Many of these puppies are used to fighting with other dogs for food and space, or are afraid of people due to their poor experiences. While many puppies can overcome these problems with training, others suffer long-term behavioral problems.
Of course, this isn’t to say that puppy mill puppies cannot make great pets. They certainly can. However, pet owners need to be aware of where their dog came from, in order to prepare themselves for future problems the dog may suffer.
To become a fighter against puppy mills and help make sure this kind of cruelty doesn’t happen to your new puppy, check into vet tech training to maximize your ability to help!