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Introduction:  Adopting vs Shopping for a Dog

Many people say if you have to pay to adopt a rescue animal what’s the difference in buying a dog from a shop or a breeder?  There are actually several differences between rescuing a dog and purchasing one, from the cost to health and more. And we totally understand.  Most pet lovers have a list a mile long as to why they want one breed over another.  Unfortunately, there are still a multitude of pet lovers who will not consider adopting a rescue dog.

Section 1: The Difference in Approach

Adopting vs shopping for a dog has become an increasingly relevant topic in recent years. The debate centers around the ethical considerations, benefits, and potential drawbacks of each approach. This report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the key points to consider when deciding between adopting or shopping for a dog.

Adopting a dog promotes responsible pet ownership. Shelters and rescue organizations typically ensure that dogs are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped before adoption. This helps control the pet population and ensures the well-being of the adopted dog. Additionally, adopting from a reputable organization often includes support and resources for training, healthcare, and behavioral issues, fostering responsible pet ownership.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of adopting vs shopping for dogs. Many shelters and rescue organizations have seen a surge in abandoned or surrendered pets due to various reasons related to the pandemic. This has caused overwhelming issues of overcrowding in numbers that rescues and shelters have never experienced before.  By adopting, individuals can provide a stable and loving home for these animals, alleviating the burden on shelters and reducing the number of dogs in need.  However, when considering adopting vs shopping for a dog, many people do not want to deal with the hassle and wait that is involved with adopting.

Key Points:

  1. Ethical Considerations: Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization saves two dogs at once – the animal you brought home, and the one who is rescued because of space you made available. Plus you have the added benefit of supporting the mission of animal welfare. Shopping for a dog from a breeder or pet store may contribute to the demand for puppy mills and unethical breeding practices.
  2. Health and Behavior: Dogs available for adoption often undergo thorough health checks and behavior assessments, ensuring they are suitable for adoption. Conversely, dogs obtained through shopping may have unknown health issues or behavioral problems due to inadequate breeding practices.  This can be an extremely important consideration when choosing between adopting vs shopping for a dog.
  3. Variety and Specific Breeds: While adopting typically offers a wide range of mixed-breed dogs, shopping allows for more specific breed choices. It is important to consider whether breed characteristics align with your lifestyle and preferences.
  4. Cost: Adoption fees are generally lower than the purchase price of a dog from a breeder. Additionally, adopted dogs often come with vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying/neutering included, reducing initial expenses.
  5. Emotional Satisfaction: Adopting a dog can bring a sense of fulfillment, knowing that you have provided a loving home to a deserving animal. Shopping for a dog may offer the satisfaction of obtaining a specific breed or puppy, but may lack the same sense of rescue and compassion.
  6. Availability and Waiting Periods: Adopting a dog may require patience, as the process can involve waiting periods and limited availability of certain breeds. Shopping for a dog offers more immediate access to specific breeds or puppies.
  7. Support and Resources: Many adoption agencies provide post-adoption support, including training resources and guidance. Breeders may also offer support, but it can vary depending on the breeder or seller.

Section 2: The Impact of Adoption

The overpopulation of shelters and rescues has reached an all-time high, posing significant challenges for animal welfare organizations. All too many people are still choosing to shop when trying to choose between adopting vs shopping for a dog.  The increasing number of abandoned or surrendered animals, combined with limited resources and space, has created a dire situation. As a result, shelters are forced to make the heartbreaking decision to euthanize animals to manage the overwhelming influx.

Impact on Animals

The overpopulation crisis has severe consequences for the animals involved. Healthy and adoptable dogs and cats, who could have found loving homes, are tragically euthanized due to the lack of available space and resources. This not only robs these animals of a chance at a happy life but also perpetuates the cycle of overpopulation and suffering.

The Strain on Shelters and Rescues

Shelters and rescues are under immense strain due to the overpopulation crisis. Limited capacity and resources make it challenging to provide adequate care and find suitable homes for all the animals in need. The burden on staff and volunteers is overwhelming, as they work tirelessly to address the growing demand while facing the heart-wrenching reality of euthanizing animals. On average, 31% of all homeless pets are euthanized every year.  In 2023, euthanasia rates reached an all-time high.

Causes and Contributing Factors

Several factors contribute to the overpopulation of shelters and rescues. Irresponsible breeding, lack of spaying and neutering, and pet abandonment are the primary causes. Additionally, economic hardships, natural disasters, and public trends can affect the number of homeless pets.  Only 1 in 5 pets remain with the same owner for their whole lifetime.

Section 3: The Dark Side of Shopping

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities that prioritize profit over the well-being of animals. These operations often prioritize quantity over quality, leading to inhumane conditions for the dogs involved. Roughly 90 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. The puppies produced in these mills are often sold through pet stores, online platforms, or directly to consumers.

Supporting puppy mills has significant consequences, particularly the overpopulation of shelters and rescues. Due to the high volume of puppies produced in mills, many end up in shelters or rescue organizations when they are no longer profitable. This overpopulation puts a strain on limited resources, leading to overcrowded shelters and increased euthanasia rates.

Puppy mills have gained significant attention in recent years due to growing concerns about animal cruelty and the ethical implications of mass breeding operations. The commercial nature of these kennels, coupled with the continuous cycle of breeding, raises questions about the welfare of the dogs involved and the impact on the pet industry.

The Problem with Puppy Mill Dogs

  • Inhumane Living Conditions: Dogs in puppy mills are often confined to small, overcrowded cages, lacking proper socialization, exercise, and veterinary care.
  • Health Issues: Due to neglectful conditions, dogs in puppy mills are prone to various health problems, including genetic disorders, infections, and malnutrition.
  • Overbreeding and Overpopulation: The relentless breeding practices of puppy mills contribute to pet overpopulation, leading to overcrowded shelters and euthanasia of unwanted animals.
  • Lack of Regulation: Despite some regulations in place, the enforcement of animal welfare laws in commercial breeding kennels remains inadequate, allowing many puppy mills to operate with minimal oversight.
  • Consumer Awareness: Raising awareness among potential pet owners about the existence and consequences of puppy mills is crucial in combating this issue and promoting responsible pet adoption.

Puppy mills, or commercial breeding kennels, continue to exploit dogs for profit, disregarding their well-being and perpetuating the cycle of overbreeding.


When faced with the choice of adopting vs shopping for a dog, adopting is a more compassionate choice than shopping for one, and it promotes responsible pet ownership. By choosing adoption, individuals provide a loving home to a dog in need, often saving them from euthanasia. This compassionate choice not only gives a second chance to a deserving animal but also helps reduce the number of homeless dogs in society.

In conclusion, when deciding between adopting vs shopping for a dog, it is crucial to consider the greater impact of our choice. By adopting a dog, we not only provide a loving home to a deserving animal but also contribute to the well-being of countless other animals in shelters. The compassionate choice of adoption promotes responsible pet ownership, reduces the demand for puppy mills, and helps combat the issue of pet overpopulation. Whether you are a first-time dog owner or a seasoned pet parent, adopting a dog is a responsible and compassionate decision that benefits both you and the animal community. Choose adoption and be a part of the solution.

If you would like to consider adopting a dog, check out our available dogs.