December 2, 2012

As the holidays approach, some people contemplate the idea of new puppy, as a gift. This time of year really isn't ideal for bringing an animal into your home, because there's so much pre-existing chaos and disruptions to routines, which make it doubly difficult for a new pet to settle in. If you do decide that now's the right time, and you settle on a young puppy rather than an adult rescue dog - PLEASE don't get drawn into buying from a store. Here's a little background on why.

We believe that puppy mills can never be defined as ‘responsible breeders’, because they mass-produce animals in inhumane settings and ship them like commodities for sale through shops that make little to no effort in ensuring the right animal is being placed with the right family. Puppy-mill pets are not sufficiently socialized to normal everyday situations, which causes them to suffer various behavioral problems and makes them difficult house pets – which in turn makes them even more at risk of ending their days in a shelter. There are about 100,000 to 200,000 dogs inside puppy mills at any given time, in the United States.The greatest victims in the puppy mill problem are the breeding parents, because they will live their life in a cage and it generally ends fairly brutally.

Please choose a puppy from a rescue or responsible breeder.

Puppies

Many people fall in love with the puppy in the window and end up making a spontaneous purchase without proper consideration for the lifetime needs of the animal they bring home. 'Shopping' for a pet in a retail location relegates the  animal itself into the category of a disposable object. In addition, unlike responsible breeders, puppy mills don't offer lifetime support to puppy owners and do not agree to take back any puppy they have raised, for the duration of its entire life, as a responsible breeder does. Also, when puppies are sold in retail outlets, there is insufficient vetting of new homes to ensure that owners are properly educated on how to care for their new animal, have the means to provide for it for the duration of its life,  or properly understand the multi-year responsibility they are undertaking.

We’re regularly asked why we at The Honest Kitchen are so strongly opposed to allowing our foods to be sold in stores that sell puppies and kittens. (We've even been threatened with law suits a couple of times, by stores who want to carry our products and become infuriated when we say no, because they conduct puppy sales.) We have refused to allow Honest Kitchen products to be sold in puppy-stores for the past ten years, and remain more strongly committed to this policy today, than ever before.

In contrast with puppy mills, responsible breeders thoroughly ‘vet’ prospective new homes to ensure they have the knowledge, time and resources to care for one of their pups. A responsible breeder takes responsibility for the life of any animal they breed and would take back an animal in the event that the unthinkable happened and the dog had to be re-homed.

Responsible breeders are involved in the preservation of their breed, not for financial gain. They breed for temperament, soundness and good genetics and take great care to select parents that possess various traits desired in offspring. Responsible breeders are often involved with breed-specific rescue groups, and have the best intentions for the welfare of the breed they love and respect so much. That’s not to say that every breeder does this. We all know that some unscrupulous breeders, over-breed or breed irresponsibly for unacceptable traits (such as an excessively squished nose, or too small a head or body, causing terrible congenital health problems in offspring).

The real problem is the pet-retention problem, where people fail to provide a lifetime home for the pets they acquire and are too quick to give them up to shelters. Many wonderful animals are currently in shelters waiting for a loving home. Some of us at The Hones Kitchen and many of our customers, have been able to offer homes to such animals and as a company, we frequently donate food, and money to various rescue organizations.

If you’d like further information on what constitutes a responsible breeder, The Whole Dog Journal has an outstanding article. For additional information on our policies, please contact us — we're happy to help. Happy Holidays!