There are few things in the world that can make a family happier than a new pet. Whether you are looking for an adorable kitten, a calm adult cat, or a tame dog or puppy, you will find that a furry friend can be the perfect addition to your home. The question many people have, however, is whether a pet store or animal shelters are better options to purchase or adopt their new family member from. Which is the best place to go if you want to be sure of getting the healthiest possible animal?
Believe it or not, pet stores can be horrible places to purchase pets in terms of pet health. The animals in these stores have often been inbred or come from animals who are overbred. Puppy mills are the most common places that supply pet stores with those adorable, wriggly little pedigree puppies you see in the window, although not one will admit to it. Not only are puppy mills cruel to the animals being overbred, they also produce puppies that are simply not healthy.
A typical puppy mill mother dog may be kept in factory-like conditions, in a cramped wire cage stacked four tall, and left outdoors in all weathers. She will be bred to produce up to a dozen (or more) litters in her ‘useful’ lifetime. She will be re-impregnated as soon as her pups have been weaned, and denied any kind of expensive medical treatment throughout her pregnancy and birth, including recommended vitamins, exercise and veterinary assistance with the birth. Once she is too old to bear puppies, she will usually be put down on-site.
Furthermore, pet stores charge hundreds of dollars for young animals that have not received nearly the level of care that animal shelters provide. A typical pet store pedigree puppy will cost you on average three to six hundred dollars, whereas animal shelters charge a flat fee of less than a hundred dollars for any animal you choose to adopt, whether it is a pedigree or a lovable mutt, a cat or a dog. That price usually includes the cost of the neuter or spaying of your animal at the shelter, and the transfer of all vet’s records to your name. When you buy a dog or cat from a pet store you will have to pay for the spay or neuter yourself on top of the initial purchase price of the animal.
Contrary to what many think, animal shelters are not just a place for animals that are old or ill behaved. In fact, many shelter pets were dropped off when owners died, moved, or became unable to financially care for them through job or home loss – commonplace these days. Many others were dropped off by owners who didn’t realize how big they would get or how much care they would need. These pets are usually in the prime of their lives, and have had many hundreds or even thousands of dollars spent on their training, vaccinations and veterinary care.
In terms of healthcare, most animal shelters provide cats and dogs with the best veterinary care possible, and will isolate and refuse to sell sick animals until they have entirely recovered. On a side-note, shelter animals produce some of the kindest and most loving pets you will ever meet. After having gone through the trauma of separation from their main protector and care-giver, most cats and dogs bond very strongly with their new owner, who they see as the person who ‘rescued’ them from being abandoned.
The bottom line is that if you want a new family pet and want to save a life in the process, your local animal shelter is absolutely the best place to go to be sure of getting a tame, pre-trained and loving animal.