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5 Common Illnesses That Occur in Puppy Mill Dogs and Why You Should ALWAYS Adopt

There’s no denying it: puppies are adorable. With their wiggly bodies, clumsy footing, and their adorable puppy breath, it’s easy to understand why everyone gushes over them. Having a puppy is exciting, and from teaching a child about responsibility to wanting a “certain” type of dog, many people like to buy puppies, instead of adopting from their local shelter. 

A dark past comes with dogs from puppy mills. Puppies that are bought from pet stores almost exclusively come from large-scale commercial dog breeding operations, also known as puppy mills.

There are between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeding facilities (puppy mills) in the United States. However, this number does not take into consideration the number of breeders not required to be licensed by the USDA or the number of breeders operating illegally without a license. The size of these facilities varies from having only a few breeding dogs to having a thousand.

Even though it’s difficult to get an exact number of how many puppy mills are in the United States, the miserable lives of these dogs is certain. Rescuers have consistently found puppy mills filled with feces, over-bred mothers, as well as diseases running rampant.

If you or someone you know is considering buying a dog from a puppy mill, please consider the following common illnesses and rethink your decision to buy, instead of adopting. 

1. Overgrown Toenails

Dogs that are well-cared for in shelters and homes have their nails trimmed on a regular basis (regular exercise also wears down the nail). But, in puppy mills, long nails can grow or get caught around the wire of the cage, trapping the dog. It’s even possible that the toenail can painfully grow back into the dog’s skin. Even the most basic of grooming practices are commonly neglected in puppy mills.

2. Health Problems

Puppy mills and breeders have one thing in mind: maximizing profits. Female dogs are bred at every opportunity, with little to no time to recover in between litters. According to the ASPCA, “Because puppy mill operators often fail to apply proper husbandry practices that would remove sick dogs from their breeding pools, puppies from puppy mills are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions.”

Health problems on puppy mills can include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, etc.)
  • Endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism)
  • Blood disorders (anemia, Von Willebrand disease)
  • Deafness
  • Eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc.)
  • Giardia
  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Kennel cough
  • Pneumonia
  • Mange
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Heartworm
  • Chronic diarrhea

3. Emaciation

Because they are confined to such small cages, their fur mats catching urine and feces in the process. This excess of matted fur makes the dogs look bigger than they actually are, and once they are shaved, their emaciated bodies are revealed.

Not only do these unsanitary conditions contaminate their food sources, but they infect the dogs themselves. Most of these dogs aren’t give the necessary medication or doctor’s visits. It isn’t uncommon for them to go undiagnosed and untreated. The puppies that are ultimately sold to consumers are commonly sick before they even arrive at their forever homes, and sadly, some die shortly after they are purchased and brought home.

4. Behavior Issues

It isn’t uncommon for a dog from a puppy mill to lack socialization and to exhibit fearful behavior with humans and other animals. Puppies are typically removed from their littermates, as well as their mothers at just six weeks of age. But, the first months of a puppy’s life are critical for the socialization of puppies, and spending time with their mother and littermates helps prevent puppies from developing problems such as:

  • Fear
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme shyness

5. Genetic Issues

Genetic deformities such as cleft palate or an overly large underbite are frequently discovered in dogs who have been rescued from puppy mills. Needless to say, these unfortunate animals are not the ones breeders decide to show to the public. Only the cutest puppies are considered worthy of being put up for sale, while the rest have to remain in cages, being used as breeder dogs until their “productivity” declines … at which point they are usually killed.

That would have been the fate for Lily, an Italian Greyhound in the photo above, who was rescued from a puppy mill by non-profit National Dog Mill Rescue.

Save a Life: Adopt

Many pet stores will say that they get their puppies from “licensed USDA breeders” but often pet stores use this to provide a false sense of security when in reality, they do in fact get their puppies from puppy mills. Being registered or “having papers” means nothing more than the puppy’s parents both had papers, according to the ASPCA.

Please always adopt and never buy. With millions of animals waiting in shelters and over 1.5 million dogs and cats being euthanized in U.S. shelters every year because they don’t have a home, adoption is always the best option. Shelters and rescue groups do have puppies and purebred dogs, so it’s not necessary to go through a breeder when there are already so many animals looking for a loving home.

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animal

How to Get Anxious or Motion Sick Dogs to Ride in the Car

This article was originally published on One Green Planet.

Some dogs love going for a car ride. Simply saying “Want to go for a car ride?” can leave some dogs in a tizzy with full-bodied wags while they anxiously wait at the front door. But for other dogs, car rides are the opposite of fun and are nothing more than anxiety filled. Motion sick dogs may experience physical reactions from car rides, such as nausea, drooling, or perhaps even vomiting. For other dogs, the reaction is emotional, and they experience anxiety. Whatever the case may be, many dogs become wrought with fear over the idea of riding in a car, making many dog lovers unsure of how to help.

Why do dogs become motion sick in the first place? For young puppies, their vestibular apparatus, the part of a mammal’s body that deals with balance and spatial orientation, isn’t fully developed. For adult dogs, the vestibular apparatus perhaps never fully developed. Jennifer Jones Shults, DVM, CCRT, of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Pain Management Hospital in Cary, North Carolina explained in Whole Dog Journal.

“It could be as simple as a puppy’s ear canals or semicircular canals still being too small to handle the rapid shifts in direction or the acceleration of the car…”

While seeing your dog overcome with anxiety and motion sickness can certainly be upsetting, completely avoiding car rides with your dog is probably not going to work as a long-term solution, considering you’ll have to travel at least a few times to the vet, groomers, etc.

So what are some solutions if your dog experiences anxiety and/or motion sickness during car rides? Here are just a few that could help making car trips go smoother!

Ginger

Ginger, among other benefits, is largely seen as a natural anti-nausea remedy. Ginger can be found in capsule form but also adding a small piece of fresh ginger to your dog’s food before a trip could help make the trip more comfortable.

Rescue Remedy 

Rescue Remedy is safe and natural and can be bought online or at your local health food or pet store. All you have to do is add two drops into their drinking water and it works for animals who have a fear of car rides, or in general have been through a traumatic situation.

Thundershirt 

Thundershirts are a drug-free, all-natural way to provide relief. The Thundershirt comes in different sizes and is inexpensive. The vest is wrapped around the dog and applies gentle, constant pressure. It’s a similar idea to swaddling an infant, the dog is receiving one giant hug. It might be a good idea to put the Thundershirt on even you’re not going for a car ride, so that way the dog doesn’t associate the Thundershirt with terror. You can order online, or find it at your local pet store. Anxiety Wrap offers a similar product.

Make the Car Ride Easier

When a cat or a dog sees a carrier, they tend to get the hint that something bad is about to happen before they even get in the car. If this is the case, you can help ease your pet’s anxiety by creating positive associations with the carrier. For instance, keeping the carrier where your dog or cat can always see it is a good idea. If they only see the carrier when it’s time to go to the vet or another unpleasant place, they will associate it with something negative. Keeping the carrier out where they can see and smell it might help. Don’t forget to put some comfy bedding and treats in the carrier!

Other Calming Tips 

It’s important for dogs to associate the car with a fun experience and not always going to the dreaded vet. Planning short trips, such as for a walk, to the dog park or maybe to a local restaurant where your pup can enjoy food will help them understand that the car isn’t scary.

Please also remember to travel safely with your dog by investing in a travel carrier instead of letting a dog ride dangerously in the back of a truck. And of course, never leave your dog alone in a hot car!