Adopt, Don’t Shop, on National Dog Rescue Day

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Rescuing a dog or any pet is entirely different than buying a dog from a pet store or a breeder. National Dog Rescue Day, which takes place annually on May 20th, exists in part to highlight this difference.

Most animal rights advocates (but not all) would suggest that potential pet owners adopt dogs rather than buying them — or, said in the catchiest, briefest way possible, “adopt, don’t shop.” Here are five reasons to follow this motto for National Dog Rescue Day:

Adopting doesn’t support animal cruelty

As cute as the dogs at pet stores are, they often come from cruel backgrounds. Pet stores often buy the dogs they sell from puppy mills, which are known for abusive, unhealthy living situations. There, dogs are often forced to breed at the cost of proper hygiene, diet, and even space to roam around and enjoy themselves. Even the ways in which dogs are transported to pet stores from these sellers has led to dogs dying in transit. Buying from pet stores directly supports these practices.

Breeders drive animal overpopulation

Animal overpopulation is a serious issue. In fact, the abundance of spayed and neutered dogs is a direct result of overpopulation — measures this drastic are needed to keep dog populations (and cat populations) in check. Breeders, though unlikely to treat their dogs as cruelly as puppy mills do, contribute to overpopulation. By selling dogs of purebred pedigree, breeders distract potential pet owners from adopting from animal shelters, where nearly 6.5 million pets are newly housed each year. Nearly one-quarter of these pets are euthanized due to overcrowding.

Adopting is cheaper

It’s rare for adoption to be free, but it’s almost always cheaper than buying a dog from a breeder or a pet store. Adoption fees can be a couple hundred dollars depending on the shelter and where you live, but they cover a dog’s first vaccinations, examinations, microchipping, spaying or neutering, and flea, tick, and worm preventatives (and sometimes even a short-term healthcare plan). In some cases, adopting a dog expected to live a shorter life or struggling with chronic illness may not require any payment.

Adopting is safer

In every state, both shelters and pet sellers are regulated to some extent. However, the strength of these regulations varies wildly by state. Thus, some would argue that buying a dog is potentially unsafe, both for the dog and the owner. Shelters, on the other hand, actively tend to dogs as the very basis of their work, making adoption safer.

Adopting is easier

Pets bought from a breeder or pet store may be brand new to a life spent around humans, in a person’s home. They are thus far less likely to be housebroken, well behaved, and properly trained. Dogs in shelters, on the other hand, have frequently lived in one or more homes, meaning they’re far more likely to be properly trained. This trend makes adopting, not shopping, especially vital for first-time dog owners.

If you plan to get a dog someday, will you adopt or shop? Why? If you have a dog, did you adopt it or buy it? Why? Sound off in the comments!

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