That cute puppy or kitten staring out at you from the pet store window can cost a great deal more than the initial price tag suggests. The hidden costs include financial expenses for the new guardian, emotional costs for the animal, and perhaps the most dreadful price of all to pay—the life of another companion animal.
Animals purchased from pet stores will not usually have received essential vaccinations and preventative flea and worm treatments and will not be spayed or neutered (which not only prevents the births of more unwanted animals but also has numerous health benefits). In addition to the costs involved in providing your animal companion with these necessary treatments, there are extra risks associated with these animals. They will often have already been exposed to flea and worm infestations and even diseases, such as parvo or coronavirus, and you may end up with the financial expense and emotional stress of paying for treatment for a very sick puppy or kitten.
This is because most puppies sold in pet stores have been sourced from puppy mills—in which animals are kept in filthy, cramped conditions with little to no access to veterinary care. Dogs kept confined to puppy mills are subjected to both overbreeding and inbreeding, which leaves puppies far more vulnerable to illness and disease. Kittens are also sourced from breeders who show no regard for their welfare and leave them at risk of developing life-threatening illnesses to minimize expenses and keep profits high.
The animals themselves will have had an extremely frightening and confusing start to their life. They are often torn away from their mothers and siblings at too young an age and can miss out on many valuable life lessons. This can result in a puppy or kitten who has poor social skills with other animals, is timid and scared of new experiences, and has missed out on what is known as “bite inhibition,” the process by which young animals learn from their siblings that biting is not acceptable.
Of course, the final victim of pet stores is the animal we never get to meet: the puppy or kitten who has been bought on a whim and then discarded, unwanted, at the local animal shelter. This animal would love to go home with you and is already up to date with his or her veterinary treatments as well as spayed or neutered.
But every animal bought from a pet store or breeder takes a home away from an animal at a shelter. And because there aren’t enough homes to go around, that puppy or kitten must be euthanized. So let’s all do the right thing by making the decision to adopt, not buy.
Posted by Claire Fryer