According to the data we have collected in over 6000 puppy
reports, there are approximately 1500 pet stores in the U.S. that sell puppies.
(click on image to the left in order to see the number of pet stores that sell
puppies in each state)
Pet stores vary from small "mom and pop" stores to large
franchise stores, but all claim they don't get their puppies from puppy mills.
Are they lying, and if so, how can they get by with lying? The truth is
that most pet stores get their puppies from brokers (middle men licensed by USDA
to buy and sell puppies on the wholesale level). The brokers buy their
puppies from mostly USDA licensed breeders. To better understand how USDA
licenses breeder and brokers, visit our page on
While you and I may have no doubt in our minds as to whether a USDA licensed
kennel can be a puppy mill, it is simply our own interpretations -- pet stores
have a right to their own opinion, so technically, they have not lied to you.
Pet stores often claim they visit all of their breeder's
personally. This, from our experience at PetShopPuppies, is an outright
lie. If a pet store tells you this, you need to be informed and ask the
right questions. How many dogs did the breeder of this puppy have?
Can I have a copy of their USDA inspection? Did the puppy's parents live
in the house or in kennels? Are the kennels raised wire hutches? How
large are the kennels? Can you give me the breeder's phone number so that
I can call them? Chances are, the pet store owner will refuse to answer
any of your questions to your satisfaction.
Pet stores often have a health guarantee; there are many
things you must watch for before you buy a puppy from a pet store. Will
the guarantee cover ALL medical expenses, regardless of the cost? If you
spend $800 on a puppy, and the puppy requires a $10,000 hip surgery, will the
pet store pay for it? Will the pet store only let you use their vet?
What if you don't feel your puppy is being properly cared for -- will they cover
the cost of a vet of your choice? If not, why? If your puppy dies
from a disease such as parvo, will the pet store refund your purchase price, or
require you to get another puppy that might also be sick? If your puppy
suffers from hip displaysia two years after your purchase, will they cover the
cost of the surgery -- will they refund you the price of the puppy -- or will
they require you to bring the 2 year old dog back to them for a new puppy?
Read your guarantee carefully -- you will likely find that your choices should
your puppy become ill, are not an option for you and your family. Your
puppy is not a defective toaster, it is a part of your family.