Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. Dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs and it is not unusual for cages to be stacked in columns. Female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little-to-no recovery time between litters and when they can no longer reproduce, they are often euthanized. Breeding dogs at puppy mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to breathe fresh air or see the sun.
Dogs are often bred with little regard for genetic quality. Puppy mill puppies are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions. These can include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Musculoskeletal disorders (hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, etc.)
- Endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism)
- Blood disorders (anemia, Von Willebrand disease)
- Eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc.)
- Respiratory disorders
- Upper respiratory infections
- Kennel cough
- Intestinal parasites
- Chronic diarrhea
There are an estimated 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills in the United States, in total selling more than 2 million puppies annually. The vast majority of these dogs are sold to pet stores by dealers or brokers. Avoid the temptation to "rescue" a puppy from a pet store, as this just puts money into the pockets of the puppy mill industry and ensures they will continue to breed dogs in inhumane conditions. Adopt or find a responsible breeder!