You pop into a pet store to pick up a bag of kitty food for your grandmother when the sweetest fuzzy face wakes up from a nap and barks at you as you try to pass by his kennel. That is it. He owns your soul now and you know you cannot leave without him even though you never thought of buying a dog before you walked through the front door. And, to make the purchase of your new family member financially viable, there is an easy monthly payment plan. How can it possibly be a bad idea to buy a dog on credit?
Most pet stores that sell dogs also offer a payment plan for your intended purchase. The reality? You are buying your dog on credit but unlike buying a car or house on credit, this is a living breathing puppy that will not only be a part of your family for years to come, but can also be a continued financial and emotional burden.
The Truth about Buying Dogs on Credit
Imagine you are buying a new car. Since you are buying it on credit with low monthly payments, you don’t have to worry about what you can afford, only about what it is you want in a new car. Where do you start?
First you may look at your lifestyle and consider what it is that would best suit you and your family over the next four or five years. Car? Truck? Van? SUV? You then might narrow it down to what type of vehicle under one of those broad umbrella terms would best suit you. Sedan? Hatchback? Wagon? Is it a computer vehicle so what kind of gas mileage would you prefer it get on your drive to work may enter into the thought process. Maybe a diesel engine makes more sense or a hybrid. Then maybe you would begin to look at manufacturers and narrow down your search even more. Then the fun begins – test driving the various models made by each of your preferred manufacturers that fit your criteria and then haggling with the salesman.
All in all, the process of buying a new car may take weeks or even months depending on the circumstances. There are many options to consider but in the end you want to be happy with the vehicle, have it fit your lifestyle, have it come from a manufacturer you trust with a solid reputation, and, most important, feel good about the overall purchase. You do not feel like you have been ripped off in any way or that you brought home a ‘lemon’. The good news is, however, that even if you do accidently buy a lemon, the manufacturers bumper to bumper warranty covers you for usually 100,000 miles – longer then you will probably own the car.
Now, back to getting a puppy and buying dogs on credit. How much thought have you put into the purchase? Have you looked at your lifestyle and that of your family and made the best possible decision about what breed of dog is a good match? Have you thought through the pros and cons of a male or female dog? Have you researched breeders and found one that puts the interest of their breed first so that no ‘lemons’ are born? And do they back their puppies with a nose to tail warranty for as long as the dog lives?
Don’t Buy a Puppy From a Pet Store
The truth is purchasing a puppy from a pet store only exacerbates the pet over population crisis in North America. Buying dogs on credit only helps people that cannot afford to own a dog to then buy a puppy from a disreputable breeder. Then, when the puppy gets sick or a genetic defect develops, the owner cannot afford the vet bills and the pup is given to a shelter to be rehomed. Hopefully, it finds a good home and people that can afford the medical costs but, more often then not, the dog sees a variety of homes before it is eventually euthanized.
Why does this happen? Pet stores that sell ‘purebred’ puppies are doing so to make money, same as any other part of their business. They buy the pups from breeders who mass-produce puppies as a commodity, again to make money. Where is the line between mass-produced puppies and a puppy mill? Should dog breeding even be considered a business?
Good breeders, like the top vehicle manufacturers, put the quality of their puppies first because they are proud of their dogs and it is their reputation on the line.
Ever wonder why most pet stores sell ‘purebred’ but unregistered puppies? Registration involves listing the name of the breeder on official documentation and who would want to put their name on a potential ‘lemon’? And, by the way, it is illegal to sell a puppy as ‘purebred’ without that registration paperwork in place as well as to charge extra for the registration process – another little snippet of information most pet stores will not tell you when you buy a puppy from them.
That adorable puppy that you are considering buying from the pet store is going to hopefully live double, if not triple, the length of time you will own that new car – isn’t it worth the time to research your purchase and make an informed and responsible decision?