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Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store: Pros, Cons, & Other Considerations

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

cute cocker spaniel puppies in the cage in a pet store

When considering adding a dog to your family, odds are you’ve pondered buying your pooch from a pet store. Pet stores are abundant throughout the country, and they make the process of purchasing a puppy quick and easy. However, many people ask: Is it all right to buy a puppy from a pet store? The answer is not black and white, as many factors, pros, and cons surround the debate of buying a puppy from a pet store.

In this post, we’ll explore this topic in-depth. In the end, you can decide for yourself if buying a puppy from a pet store is something you should consider. To begin, let’s start with the pros and cons.

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The Pros of Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store

a girl with her poodle puppy in pet shop
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

You Can Interact With the Puppy

When you see a puppy you’re interested in, you can hold the puppy while you consider bringing the pup home. Interacting with the puppy will be a good indicator of the puppy’s characteristics to see if the puppy is a good fit for your family.

The Process Is Convenient

The process is quick and easy, and you don’t have to get on a waiting list and wait for your puppy to be born. When you decide to buy a puppy, you can visit your local pet store and walk out with your new puppy the same day.

Some pet stores even allow you to place a hold on a puppy you’re interested in without putting down a hefty deposit, and the cost is typically lower than buying from a breeder. Buying from a breeder can be costly, and almost all of them require a deposit upfront, which makes some people a little uneasy.

woman paying for her purchase at a pet shop with her dog
Image Credit: Nomad_Soul, Shutterstock

Financing Options

If you’re on a budget but cannot live without the puppy you fell in love with, many pet stores offer financing options so you can go ahead and get the puppy. However, financing options are only available to qualified buyers, and you’ll end up paying more for the puppy due to interest, but the option is there.

Knowledgeable Staff

Another pro is the staff should be knowledgeable about the puppy you’re interested in. The staff spends time with the pups daily, and they should be able to answer any questions you may have. The staff can also assist you in finding the right temperament you’re looking for and make suggestions for the perfect fit. If you’re looking for a particular breed, the staff can inform you when they’ll be getting the breed if they don’t have it at the time.

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The Cons of Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store

puppies playing with the drinking fountain in a pet store's storefront window
Image Credit: elbud, Shutterstock

Cost

While the cost of buying a puppy from a pet store is typically lower than buying from a breeder, you’ll still probably pay more than what the puppy is worth. This is especially true in rare or hard-to-find breeds. We’ve mentioned financing options, but we don’t recommend that route due to the amount of interest tacked on to the overall price.

Puppy Mills

As disgusting as it is, puppy mills still exist, and some puppies end up for sale in pet stores. The Humane Society has made great strides in its efforts to shut down puppy mills, and they have rescued over 11,000 dogs from puppy mills since 2006.

Sadly, puppy mills are more interested in profits rather than the well-being of dogs, and puppies that come from puppy mills may be unhealthy. This is disheartening after you’ve shelled out big bucks for a puppy, only to find the puppy is unwell. 

puppies in a puppy mill shelter
Image Credit: Yashkin Ilya, Shutterstock

Lack of Breed Knowledge

Even though we listed a knowledgeable staff as a pro, on the contrary, some pet store employees may be less knowledgeable than others. It can be frustrating when a pet store employee knows nothing about the breed you’re interested in, which has been known to happen.

Pressure to Buy

Some pet store employees may latch on to you as soon as you venture over to the puppy section as if you’re buying a car. Many employees use sales tactics, leaving you feeling pressured into buying a puppy. Adding a puppy to your family is a huge responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it may seem the staff is only interested in making a sale rather than ensuring the puppy is going to a home that’s a good fit.

It’s wise to inquire about the pet store’s return policy in case it doesn’t work out, as they all have their own protocols regarding returns.

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What to Look For in a Pet Store

When considering buying a puppy from a pet store, there are a few things to check before taking a puppy home:

Health Guarantee 

Before considering any pet store, we recommend inquiring about a health guarantee. As mentioned, there is always the possibility of a puppy coming from a puppy mill in poor health, and getting a health guarantee can help ease your mind.

Ask for vaccination records and any tests the puppy has received. Some puppies acquire illnesses just from being kept in pet stores, and a health guarantee will cover any medical expenses that arise within a few days after purchase. You should also ask if the pet store has insurance plans that cover unexpected issues that may arise. A reputable pet store will likely have this available.

Not obtaining a health guarantee prohibits the pet store from being legally liable if they sell you a sick pup, and if the store does not offer a health guarantee, look elsewhere.

pomeranian puppy sitting on dog bed in a pet store
Image Credit: Bussakorn Ewesakul, Shutterstock

Reviews

Before stepping foot into a pet store, look them up and examine their reviews. Consumer reviews are an excellent resource to use that will give you a feel for the store’s reputation. If the store has mostly negative reviews, it’s better to find a different one.

Examine the Puppies

Always examine all the puppies’ appearances to check for signs of illness. For example, a healthy puppy will have a shiny, soft coat rather than a dull or shaggy coat. The eyes should be wide and alert with no redness or irritation, and the skin should be clean with no sores or signs of infection. The teeth should be white, and the gums should be pink. There should also be no wheezing or coughing, and the ribs should not be visible.

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Final Thoughts

So, is buying a puppy from a pet store all right? We can’t say yes or no because it depends on the pet store. Pet store puppies deserve the right to find loving homes, and you shouldn’t pass one up because the puppy is in a pet store. However, it’s important to only buy from reputable pet stores and to do your research before committing.


Featured Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

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