Getting a New Pet – Do You Buy or Adopt a Dog?

Adding a new dog to your family is an important decision not to be taken lightly. One has to consider lifestyle, the size of the dog, and the breed. Once the decision to get a new dog is made, knowing where to get it is very important. Do you buy or adopt a dog?

Many people don’t realize where the puppies at the pet store come from. Puppies in a pet store come from a deplorable place. They’re called puppy mills and unfortunately, there are thousands of them in the US.  Living in puppy mills can cause the dogs’ health to deteriorate and the environment can breed disease. The adults get sick then pass the diseases on to the puppies. Then regardless of their health, the puppies are shipped to the pet store. This can lead to hundreds of dollars in vet bills for the unsuspecting buyer of the pet store puppy. Sometimes the puppy becomes so sick that it dies.

Do you buy or adopt a dog

These poor dogs spend all of their lives in a cage at a puppy mill. Image credit: Petra Martin

Puppy mill dogs are bred constantly. When they can no longer produce puppies the mother dogs are killed. They are kept in tiny cages with wire floors which cut into their feet. These dogs are not bathed and their nails are not trimmed. Most do not receive any medical treatment. Many are left in cages outside without protection from the summer heat and the winter cold. It’s not much of a life; as a matter of fact, it’s no life at all.

Do you buy or adopt a dog

Dogs live in filth with little shelter from the weather in puppy mills. Image credit: PETA


Pet stores sell over two million puppies every year. Sadly nearly three million dogs are killed in shelters each year because they have nowhere to go.  People who buy puppies from pet stores are supporting horrific abuse.  This should easily answer the question: Do you buy or adopt a dog?

Having worked in rescue for 12 years I’ve had more than one argument with someone about whether they should buy or adopt a dog. If one is looking for a purebred dog, there are thousands of them in rescue groups and shelters all over the United States. The reason for this is that many people buy a puppy from a pet store or a breeder. Six months later they realize that the dog is too big, they can’t train it, or they just don’t want it anymore. So they dump it at the shelter. Luckily there are rescue groups that pull these dogs from the shelters. Some rescues focus on specific breeds. Once the dogs are in their care they list them on Petfinder so they can find the dog a forever home.

Do you buy or adopt a dog

This mother lab and her puppies were rescued from a high kill shelter. Image credit: G Gamble


Do you buy or adopt a dog? It might seem simple to just walk into a pet store and purchase a puppy. However adopting is much more ethical.  Some people become impatient with rescue groups or shelters because they require potential adopters to complete an application. Please don’t feel like you are under scrutiny because of this. The reason they do this is simple. Dogs are like children. They can become emotionally scarred when passed from one home to a shelter and back again. The reason rescues and shelters require an application is because they want to know if a family is serious about adopting a dog. This is a lifelong commitment. Rescues and shelters see too many dogs adopted out only to land right back in the shelter. This takes a toll on the dog’s mental state.


If you are contemplating getting a dog, please adopt. Please don’t buy a dog from a pet store. Adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Remember to consider adult dogs when looking for a new family member. You can find adoptable dogs near you in the United States by going to











  1. While we agree with you overall about adopting over “buying”….(our cat is adopted, our dog is NOT). Our dog was purchased from a responsible breeder who is also a Vet. But….she focused on her dogs that she could show, and we think that our Dakota might have been neglected emotionally as a result. We purchased Dakota when he was 8 months old and in my opinion, in a way it WAS a “rescue” He wasn’t getting what he needed where he lived, but he does with us. While I believe in adoption and I am SUPER AGAINST PET STORES……….I do NOT think that purchasing a dog from a responsible breeder is a bad thing.

    • Responsible breeders are hard to find. You all are lucky to have found one. I personally think all breeders need to microchip their puppies in their name. This way when someone buys the pup then drops it off at the shelter six months later the shelter can, in turn, contact the breeder to come in and pick up the dog. This would give the breeder pause to stop breeding so many puppies or to start to rigorously screen potential adopters. Puppy Mills just need to be closed down in my opinion. Those poor dogs are in a living hell.

    • Good for you Stacie! People are learning that adopting a homeless animal is better than buying an animal at a pet store but we’ll need to keep spreading the word until all the pet stores are closed and the puppy mills demolished.

  2. I see a huge benefit in adopting. My parents always purchased from a breeder – but in my opinion, adoption is definitely the better route to take. Those pets have way more personality and I mean, they NEED a home!

    • Homeless dogs definitely need homes! Education is what we need but unfortunately, there are few people out there to teach people that adoption is the way to go. I plan on doing this once I retire.

  3. Honestly, for me, there’s no other choice but to adopt. We shouldn’t support pet stores or breeders that mistreat animals. It’s really important that we spread that message. It may not be an easy process sometimes especially when the pet we want to adopt has a long history but it’s better to choose adoption for sure.

    • Good for you!! We need more people that think like you do! We adopted an adult dog years ago with some serious emotional issues. She hated men. Today she is confident and loving. She still shies away from strange men but is way better than she used to be.

    • Good for you! My first dog was from one of my parent’s co-workers whose cock-a-poo had puppies. It wasn’t good. He was covered in fleas! Poor baby’s first experience in his new home was a flea bath. From then on I always rescued or adopted.

  4. I have read some article recommending that it is better to adopt dogs than to buy. It’s terrible how you see abandoned dogs so I think adopting is the best.

  5. We bought our dogs, mainly because we wanted a certain breed and searched the kennels for a few months before buying from a breeder. I’m definitely up for adopting a new pet if I find the right one for our family!

    • You are right and smart to get the right breed/type of dog for your family. Next time you ought to check out Petfinder in your area. Rescue groups and shelters alike list their animals on Petfinder.

    • Yes, all dogs need homes. Over my life, I’ve had from one up to five dogs at a time. I don’t recommend taking in over three and it is good to mix them up like one female and one male. We learned the hard way that a house full of females leads to periodic fights.

  6. What a great post, great information and tips. We rescued our dogs from the Boston Terrier rescue in Oklahoma and even though the process took some time it was so rewarding. We love them to pieces and it’s a great way to give a good dog a home.

    • Thank you! That’s wonderful that your dogs were rescues! The group I work with rescues all breeds of dogs and cats but we work with local breed rescues like Border Collie Rescue and Boxer Rescue.

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