You may have heard the term “Puppy Mill”, but what is it and why are they so bad? A puppy mill is a for-profit company that Mass -Farms dogs. Breed mothers, or the dogs used to give birth, are over-worked, and when they are no longer able to produce babies, are put down. The puppies themselves are stuffed into filthy, overcrowded cages with little to no regard for their safety or health.
Since proper husbandry practices that would remove sick dogs from their breeding pools are not followed, puppies from puppy mills are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions. These can include:
• Heart disease
• Kidney disease
• Musculoskeletal disorders (hip dysplasia, etc.)
• Endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism)
• Blood disorders (anemia, Von Willebrand disease)
• Eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc.)
• Respiratory disorders
Puppies are often sold to pet stores and even directly to people. Due to the unsanitary conditions and failure of veterinary supervision in the mills, they often arrive with a plethora of diseases and spreadable health issues such as
• Upper respiratory infections
• Kennel cough
• Intestinal parasites
• Chronic diarrhea
On top of physical health issues, many dogs develop emotional issues such as higher levels of fear and social disorders. In one particular study, rescued puppy mill dogs were shown to have stress levels that were 6-8 times higher than normal pet dogs. The harsh conditions in the mills clearly takes a toll on man’s best friend. Due to the lack of socializing, these pets also have a tougher than normal time integrating into a new home.
Fortunately, there is hope! Thousands of dogs have been rescued from these terrible mills, and while the dogs may suffer from significant emotional issues, it is possible for them to overcome their problems and become a loving pet to a caring family. Taking in a rescued puppy mill dog takes time and dedication, but the payoff can be akin to the love Dorothy and Toto felt when they finally made their way back home to Kansas.
To take action against Puppy Mills, here are a few steps to get started:
• Contact the ASPCA
• Adopt your pet from shelters instead of buying one from a pet store
• Spread awareness about the issue. This is the most important thing you can do because the more people that know about the issue, the more people can help the cause!
For the brave of heart: A simple Google picture search of Puppy Mills will bring up some graphic pictures (not for the faint of heart). You can see why we would want to save these puppies.