Most Chihuahua owners don’t know the truth about puppy mills. You may be very surprised to find that your Chihuahua came from a puppy mill and not even know it! Everyone knows that puppy mills are bad and inhumane, but there is much more to puppy mills and the whole buying and selling of puppy mill puppies than you may know.

Does your Chihuahua have some severe behavior problems? Is your Chihuahua scared of everything? Are you at your wits end? You might unknowingly have a puppy mill Chihuahua!

But you may be thinking, “mine is not a puppy mill dog!” I got my Chihuahua at or from …. fill in the blank.

Although you know that puppy mills are bad, you may not know the whole truth about puppy mills.

The Truth About Puppy Mills

Let’s start with what exactly is a puppy mill? Cruel, unscrupulous breeders want to get the most profit by producing the highest number of puppies at the lowest possible cost to them.

Puppy Mill Dogs Are Kept In Very Small Cages. The more breeding dogs they have, the more puppies they can produce, which in turn means more money.

So what they do is maximize the space by keeping several (think crowded) dogs in small cages and stack the wired-floored cages either inside somewhere — where they never see the light of day or breathe fresh air — or in outdoor pens exposed to heat, cold, and rain. They eat, sleep, defecate, and give birth in these cramped cages.

puppy mill little pupies in cage result
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They Live In Filthy Conditions. In these conditions, many diseases can develop, especially for puppies with undeveloped immune systems. The diseases range from parasites, parvo, and pneumonia, just to name a few. So what if some die, they can always produce more, or so the cruel breeder thinks.

Dogs In Puppy Mills Get Little To No Vet Care. Just like us, dogs need regular checkups and dental cleanings. But all that costs money. Their vet care (if any) is very limited. No annual checkups, teeth cleanings, or even vaccines.

They Get No Grooming. These poor dogs never get a bath, their hair brushed or their nails trimmed. This causes matting that is painful and nails so long it hurts to stand and or to walk.

They Get No Walks, Playtime, Or Even Petting. They are shown no love at all. After all, these dogs to the breeder are just puppy making machines, inventory. Their only goal is to sell as many puppies as they can for a profit. Dogs are social animals and being treated this way causes physical, behavior, and emotional problems. They pace back and forth in their cages, bark nonstop and cower or appear entirely shut down.

Females Are Continually Bred. They are bred at every opportunity, and it doesn’t matter to these cruel people if that dog is sick, injured, exhausted or even if they have genetic traits that could be damaging to their puppies.

They Are Suddenly Separated From Mother And Littermates. Once there is a buyer, puppies are immediately removed. There is no time to gradually separate them. This can lead to fear, anxiety and other lasting behavioral problems that may be extremely difficult or even impossible to treat. These problems may last a lifetime.

Remember that Chihuahuas are “fear aggressive”. What that means is if they are afraid, they will be aggressive hoping to scare off whatever it is that they perceive as a threat.

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The truth about puppy mills, in case that is not enough to turn your stomach, is that when there is a buyer, puppies are often shipped long distances by truck or plane to brokers and pet stores. It’s noisy, crowded, filthy and too hot or too cold. They are exposed to illness and disease.

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They are shipped or flown as cargo and freight. This is not a comfortable trip for them and these poor puppies have no idea what is happening. Imagine how very scared they must be!

There is no retirement plan for these poor dogs. The truth about puppy mills is that profits are in the puppies, so when a dog can no longer breed and produce puppies they are either abandoned or killed. They are condemned to a lifetime of pain and suffering. Then when their purpose has been depleted, that is the end. That is all there is for these poor unfortunate dogs.

Yes, the puppies may find good homes with loving people. But they often have so many behavior, health, or emotional problems that the unsuspecting new owner is at their wit’s end and are ill-equipped to deal with such weighty problems. So, they all too often end up in a shelter and are ultimately euthanized. How very, very sad!

Don’t Be Fooled!

Pet stores know that their puppies come from puppy mills and they know the truth about puppy mills. But if you ask any one of them they will tell you that the breeders where they get their puppies and their store is USDA inspected, so they know that their puppies didn’t come from a puppy mill. Well, that sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled, that is nothing but doublespeak! What does it really mean?

USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. Their business is farming and livestock. To the USDA these puppies are “livestock”. As long as the breeder’s and the pet store’s license is in order and the cages are clean — “clean” being a relative term — and no immediate diseases are obvious their kennel or store receives a passing grade.

The USDA does not care

  • Whether the breeder knows anything about his breed
  • Whether the dogs used for breeding look like their breed
  • Whether the dogs used for a breeding act like their breed
  • Whether the dogs used for breeding are free of genetic health problems most of which show up long after you buy the puppy.
puppy store

Petland is one of the leading chains that still sell puppies. They have more than 200 stores worldwide and 140 in the US. We have one in our community, and chances are there is one in your neighborhood. Besides Petland, there are many stores that sell puppies that are not part of a chain. Thankfully, people are trying to shut them down, but have been mostly unsuccessful. New York is one such city that is trying to pass a law that bans the sale of puppies in stores.

What is a Dog Broker?

Have you ever wondered how pet stores can have such a variety of different breeds of puppies? It would be very difficult to know when a local breeder will have a litter of puppies for sale, so they turn to a dog broker, a middleman. The middleman buys puppies in bulk from commercial breeders (puppy mills) and re-sells them to retailers for a profit. It is, after all, all about the money!

According to the ASPCA there are currently 300 USDA-licensed puppy brokers in the US. Puppy mills are happy to work with a dog broker because they are willing to buy most or all the puppies that the breeder has available at once. The broker then transports them over long distances to wherever in the US they will be sold to unsuspecting dog lovers.

I Got My Puppy Online, Not A Puppy Mill

Cruel and unscrupulous breeders and brokers are turning more and more to the internet to sell their puppies. Instead of re-selling them to pet stores (more and more are being shut down), many use Craigs List. Some may create a fancy online pet store or create very official-looking websites and pass themselves off as “responsible breeders”.

chihuahua hanging a sale board result
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What Happens To Puppies That Didn’t Sell? They are usually not sent to a rescue organization so that they may have a chance of getting good care and help with their health, behavior or emotional problems, and finding a good home.

Oh, no, they are usually dumped at the shelter. Often they have a story that they give to the shelter — which most are on to by now, but can do nothing about it — or more often, they are left, or dumped at the shelter in secret after hours.

I had someone say to me “so what? even puppy mill puppies need homes”. To that person, I say, yes, that is true, but when you buy from a pet store, on Craigs List, or from someone on the internet, you are ensuring the continuance of puppy mills and condemning the puppies’ mother and father to a lifetime of pain, and suffering. And even a brief time spent in these horrific conditions can result in a lifetime of problems for the poor puppies. Think about that.

Should I Never Buy A Puppy From A Breeder?

I want to make it clear that I advocate for adoption “adopt, don’t shop”, however, I also know there are some that want a pure-bred Chihuahua puppy. A puppy that you get to raise from the start of his or her life. You can find one through rescue, but it may take time to find just the right one for you that way. I also know that there are Chihuahua breeders known as hobby breeders that are not in it for the money and they love the breed and make the puppies a part of their family. We have to be balanced and to not judge or berate others for having a different opinion than we do.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a pure-bred puppy. There are many responsible breeders that love the breed and lovingly care for the sire and dam (mother and father) and the puppies. They make sure that those puppies go to good homes where they will find love and care.

But, if you are looking for a pure-bred Chihuahua puppy, please carefully research the breeder you are thinking of buying from. Make sure that they are a responsible breeder. If you are looking for a responsible breeder, I have done the research for you and have made a list of Chihuahua breeders that I know are responsible breeders that would not even dream of doing what puppy mills do!

I warn you that this video is difficult to watch, but I think it is important for all to see and remember.

YouTube video

There is still so much work to do to shut down puppy mills and we all must stop being complacent and do our part to stop them once and for all!

Let’s start a conversation about puppy mills! Tell us in the comments below what you thought of this article. And as they say on TV, “the more you know” … pass it on, be sure to share it on your social media channels by clicking on one or more of the icons below.

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