Written by Natalia Dolidze, Managing Director of Pets Habitat LLC

I was somewhat surprised our poll PRICE vs ETHICS resulted in nearly equal tie (Ultimately, would you: rather pay more for your new puppy or kitten, knowing he/she came from ethical source, home based breeder OR still consider & prefer cheaper pet, even under suspicion of him/her coming from puppy mill, because you can afford the price?). Such outcome has prompted and urged this brief article.

As the demand for puppies and their popularity rises in the UAE, so do the importers, breeders and the sellers of puppies. However, not everyone is meant to have a dog just as not everyone is meant to breed dogs and sell them. If you already have decided to have a dog, a lifetime companion, please do your thorough research before you get one.

First of all, do you know what’s a “puppy mill”? The word itself says it: mill – a factory or a plant for manufacturing different kinds of things. In this case, puppies! Puppy mill, aka puppy farm, is where dogs are bred in cages each and every season canine mom goes on heat in someone’s backyard or warehouse or another commercial setup away from much of human interaction, attention and concern. These sorrowful dogs are often dehydrated, severely malnourished, exposed to weather elements (cold in winter, hot in summer), lacking most of hygiene, basic veterinary consideration and all human kindness and empathy every living being needs and deserves. All possible costs are cut and minimized to make the most profit often even in such absolute necessities as vaccines (fake photocopied stickers are often used in pet passports). Such puppy factories have made a mess in the genetics of the breeds and are massively producing dogs with health problems, behavioral issues, while demonstrating ethical failings of our modern society. Puppy mills have become so common, real genuine breeders are losing their purpose and popularity. The only reasons why people still choose to buy puppies from a puppy mill is ignorance and low prices.

Before getting an adorable little puppy, consider your options and your conscience. If you don’t care about the breed and you just want a loveable companion, the first thing you should consider is adopting a puppy or an already grown dog. However, this way you can never be sure about the size it will grow up to be (most puppies/dogs for adoption are usually of larger sizes), the genetics, if it will have some health problems or not, the character and the temperament. Even so, if you adopt a dog, you have no guaranties at all, but you do a good thing and possibly save a life! It is not rare that mixed breeds, usually adopted dogs, are healthier than genuine pure breeds.

However, if you are looking for certain traits, if you or family members have allergies, if age and size are of importance, if you want to see/know more about both parents of your chosen puppy, then you must be ready to pay the price to authentic breeder, and if none is found within UAE, also the shipping and documentation expenses, airline fees, export/import duties, boarding and veterinary costs to name just a few.

When buying cheaper puppy from a puppy mill or unverified source, you run high risk of having sick puppy, in many cases dying from common viruses that can be prevented with hygiene and vaccines, poorly formed / deformed puppy due to malnutrition of mother and litter, genetically poor puppy due to inbreeding, not correctly represented breed (cross bred), not to mention you fund the appalling industry of puppy mills. Another aspect to worry about when you get a puppy with unknown background from potential puppy mill source is behavior. Dogs that are inbred and kept in not so good conditions with many other dogs in overcrowded cages, lacking elementary medical attention and basic human love and care, would probably develop not so nice temperament towards humans. In other words, puppies bred and raised in such commercial setups are known to be aggressive, unpredictable and unreliable towards people, children in particular, as little humans cannot always assess the warning signs of danger coming from their poorly bred canine companion as adults would.

When you buy a dog from a trustworthy breeder, or ethical breeder with a history of keeping and breeding the same breed, you know exactly the breed you will get, with stable temperament, well socialized disposition and predictable happy-to-be-around-humans canine behavior. It is not a secret that you will pay more money, but it nearly always worth the initial additional budget strain. You can put your fears to rest that your puppy will turn into healthy and happy long lived companion just as expected with no unpleasant surprises in between.

At Pets Habitat all our puppies come strictly from home and family based breeders, who breed yearly or every second year (this is why I often must say honest NO to some of my customers requesting their second puppy from us from the same breeder), where parent dogs live with human family as pets, loved, played, walked and even slept with in some cases. Many of our breeders have kids of their own and thus our puppies are well socialized with children since birth, familiar with kids’ behavior and tolerate any possible childish capriciousness well. All our puppies are raised with human love and devotion, their parents are never perceived as money bearing machines, and it shows in our puppies’ behavior and attitude towards humans, their even nature and their happy-go-lucky personalities.

In conclusion, I’ve heard people tell me how they bought a very special breed of dog from someone/somewhere for low price and it didn’t turn out to be that breed, however they got attached to it and love it and keep it anyway. I guess that is the best case scenario that could possibly happen when you buy a dog from unverified sources. Can you imagine how heartbroken you as an owner would be if you found out that your puppy was dying from some virus or health problem that you had known nothing about at the time of purchase? Sadly, this is what happens very often with these puppies… Also, you wouldn’t want to pay for a Chihuahua that you plan on keeping in a small apartment and get a Labrador cross instead (happened too)!

I advise you to be very careful and patient when researching from where you should buy a dog, especially if you are a first time owner. Consider all and always ask questions, because in the end the price doesn’t matter when you weigh long term effects of owning lifelong friend, who is healthy and with no serious problems!

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