A woman in a pet store holding a dog.

Is It Inhumane For Pet Stores To Keep Dogs?

5 mins |

In a perfect world, every dog has a home and a roof over its head and enjoys the cuddles and smooches of its owners. However, dogs have to start somewhere before ending up in a home, and some of them start in a pet store. Is it inhumane for pet stores to keep dogs though?

Unfortunately, many pet stores use inhumane methods to get their puppies, such as acquiring them from puppy mills. Not all do though, so doing research to find humane pet stores is key.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy From A Pet Store

Many pet stores have devised a great scheme to manipulate you into thinking that all is fair and pure in their stores. But, as with parrots and other animals, the dogs inside are not particularly well-cared for.


Let’s unravel the ugly truth behind pet stores. 

Most Pet Stores Get Their Puppies From Puppy Mills

Most pet stores support puppy mills, also known as puppy farms, where dogs get bred in large quantities and are kept in very inhumane circumstances, chained, and confined in spaces smaller than kennels. 

So, imagine your dog-to-be has already been a victim of trauma and torture. Also, as they have a vast number of dogs to care for, puppy mills leave the dogs in their dirt and filth. And yes, that leads to dogs obtaining chronic illnesses and diseases because they’re not well-cared for. 

To add to the filth and trauma, dogs do not receive the proper veterinary care every pup needs. Even worse, the mothers and females, in general, are bred repeatedly when in heat without being screened for any inherent genetic health problems.

For an even bigger irony, pet stores have signs all over the place saying they do not support cruel breeding and advocate for healthy dogs. 

Don’t get us wrong here. Some pet stores follow strict protocols (give them a lot of praise) and are actually against puppy mills and bring dogs only from reputable breeders or shelters even.

The Process Of Paying For The Dog

Most pet stores devised a scheme where the dog-owners-to-be can sign a puppy lease agreement, where they pay off the puppy in monthly installments. But they end up paying way more than the animal’s original price

Pet stores hire a private contractor for this and make a profit off of it. 

Dogs Get Certificates That Might As Well Be Meaningless

Dogs bought from pet stores often come with AKC or USDA-licensed certificates. But this doesn’t mean anything.

A USDA license is extremely easy to obtain as the standards for getting it are incredibly low. 

Also, a certificate from the AKC (American Kennel Club) only indicates that the dog’s mother and father are part of the recognized 199 breeds. That doesn’t mean that the puppies in the stores are cared for and healthy. 

What To Look For When Buying A Puppy From A Pet Store

A family with a dog in a pet store.
A happy family.

Even though buying from a pet store is an inhumane practice, it’s up to you. 

Should you decide to buy a dog from the pet store, at least be aware of some of the following tips:

  • Look for healthy dogs (usually, the healthy ones are separated from the sick ones)
  • Look at its fur (if it’s shiny, then it’s usually a healthy dog)
  • See if all dogs have fresh and clean water beside the kennel
  • Look for signs of distemper and parvovirus – runny stool and dry nose 

What About Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores?

When it comes to puppy-friendly pet stores, it’s a completely different matter. 

Puppy pet stores are one of the few places where pet lovers get information, food, or ask for advice. Also, it is one of the few places where they get to buy all sorts of animals. But they should still follow strict guidelines.

And no, not all pet stores stand behind the gruesome circumstances in which dogs get bred. For example, in a perfect world, some pet stores offer puppies for adoption from nearby shelters and care for the humane conditions that support those dogs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to additional questions you may have about pet stores and dogs.

Is There An Ethical Way Of Buying A Puppy?

Yes, there is a somewhat ethical way of buying a puppy. Always check the breeding place, contact the vet (or even a vet you trust), and see whether they care for the dogs. 

What Are Ethical Issues In Pet Shops?

The common ethical issue in pet shops is that pet shops sell sick, bad-cared-for, injured animals without giving them the proper medical care. 

Final Thoughts: Is It Inhumane For Pet Stores To Keep Dogs?

Remember, every pet gets replaced by another the moment you buy from the pet store, so the vicious circle continues, and many continue to make money from dogs. By adopting instead, you give a well-cared-for dog a good home.

So, what do you think about buying dogs from pet stores? Do you think it’s inhumane for pet stores to keep dogs? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Sandra is a veterinary undergraduate student based in Macedonia. She combines her two passions: veterinary medicine and writing, and she also tends to raise awareness about animal welfare as much as she can. As a student, she has attended many seminars and conferences related to the veterinary profession, and currently, she is focused on veterinary content writing. Although she owns a cat, she strongly claims that “dogs are her favorite people”.