This week is anti puppy mill week in Finland and for that reason I thought I might share some reasons to avoid puppy mills and some tips on how to do that.

The view inside a puppy mill. ┬ęSEY

It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that puppy mills are bad. The dogs are kept badly, bred way too often, mostly not medicated when sick (and things like worms and kennel cough simply rage through puppy mill locations) and simply tossed into trash when their health is too spent to continue breeding. And yet somehow puppy mills keep on keeping on and one reason is that animal lovers feel the need to rescue a puppy from a mill. The thing is though that the oeners of puppy mills don’t care why you buy the dog as long as you buy it from them. You want to rescue a dog, go to a shelter. And it’s worth it to note that most often the cheap price at the moment you’re buying may seem like a good thing but it’s more likely to end up costing you later in medical bills.

So how do you avoid puppy mills? Well the first thing is, you don’t buy a puppy without seeing its mother (not counting shelter puppies here btw). If the mother is sick or looks bad or is aggressive or very fearful, you put the puppy down and back away. Now I’m not talking unkempt, some individuals simply drop their fur after pregnancy, I’m talking unhealthy looking. I know there’s a trend in America of buying puppies at pet stores but I would really avoid doing that. The mother’s character can have a tremendous effect on what the puppy will grow up to be like and at worst you may end up with a dog that bites people when nervous. The second, if at all possible, meet the dog in the environment he’s staying at until she goes home with you. If it’s unclean or someplace you wouldn’t like staying then go somewhere else (again, not talking about shelters). And finally – if you’re buying a pure bred dog – buy him from an accredited breeder, find out as much as you can about the breed beforehand, including stuff about hereditary diseases if there are any. Talk to the breeder, make sure they’re not just selling you a rosy picture.

To find out more go to ASPCA (in English) or SEY (in Finnish).