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If you are window shopping for a puppy, odds are you’ll end up with a dog from a puppy mill. There is a better way. #stoppuppymills

Lauren gets a kiss from a rescue puppy at the adoption center.

1 Consider Adoption First

Adopting a dog who needs a home is one of the best things you’ll ever do. Some of the sweetest dogs are shelter dogs and the majority of dogs at shelters were surrendered by their owners – not because the dog did anything wrong. It’s a people problem…

Animal shelters and rescue groups often have scores of great dogs, both mixes and purebreds, just waiting for homes. There are also breed-specific rescue groups for every breed of dog, including “designer” or “hybrid” like Labradoodles and Puggles. The Shelter Pet Project can help you find a great dog or puppy in your area! Read more about adopting a puppy through a shelter or breed rescue group.

2 find a responsible breeder and visit the premises

Responsible breeders provide a loving and healthy environment for their canine companions, one that they will be proud to show you. No matter what papers a breeder has, don’t buy a puppy without seeing where the dog and its parents were raised and housed with your own eyes. Beware: AKC and other types of registration papers only tell you who a puppy’s parents were, not how his parents were treated.

3 Don’t get a puppy from an online or retail pet store

Despite what they may tell you, most pet stores do sell puppy mill puppies, unless the store is sourcing animals from local animal shelters. Read more about the false claims made by pet stores.

4 Don’t believe promises that puppies are “home raised” or “family raised”

Many puppy millers pose as small family breeders online and in newspaper and magazine ads. The HSUS has often helped local authorities in the rescue of puppy mill dogs. In most cases, the puppy mills sold puppies via the Internet using legitimate-looking ads or websites that made it look like the dogs came from somewhere happy and beautiful, claims that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

5 Avoid the temptation to “rescue” a puppy mill dog by buying him

Unfortunately, that just opens up space for another puppy mill puppy and puts money into the pockets of the puppy mill industry. The money you spend helps the pet store buy more puppies from the puppy mill operator, ensuring they will continue breeding and treating dogs inhumanely. If you see someone keeping puppies in poor conditions, alert your local animal control authorities instead of buying the animal.

How YOU Can Help

From choosing reponsibly to sharing our message, there are a lot of ways to take action and


Don’t buy your next dog from a pet store or Internet site, and don’t buy supplies from any pet store or Internet site that sells puppy mill dogs.
sign our puppy pledge


Urge the USDA to raise their standards, tighten regulations and help the thousands of suffering dogs in puppy mills across the country.


Know anyone looking for a dog? Let them know how to choose responsibly by sharing this page with them.