What is a Puppy Mill?

A puppy mill is defined as “any large scale commercial breeding facility where puppies are produced solely for profit, and which breeds many dogs and/or many different breeds of dogs”.

Puppy milling in Canada is a multi-million dollar, largely tax free industry.

A puppy mill dog’s sole purpose is to produce puppies over and over again, typically twice a year.  The female breeding dogs are either pregnant or nursing for most of their exhaustive reproductive years.

Often existing in cramped, makeshift cages, dogs relieve themselves where they eat and sleep, a very unnatural setting for dogs. Such unsanitary conditions, combined with lack of nutrition and health care, can quickly result in sickness and/or disease, often left untreated.

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Puppies are often weaned from their mothers too young – anywhere from four to six weeks of age.

Puppies are then sold through pet stores, the internet, flea markets, local newspaper ads, or through puppy brokers (who buy puppies in bulk and distribute to pet shops), as well as directly from the mill.  It is believed that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills.

Given the poor hygiene conditions and lack of medical attention to the breeding dogs, the puppies are often infested with internal parasites, and/or incubating congenital or genetic defects. Sadly, these traits often only become apparent weeks to months after purchasing the puppy.

When no longer able to reproduce, dogs are routinely disposed of – abandoned, euthanized, or sold at auction. Some dogs ‘donate’ their older dogs to animal rescue groups, who dedicate months rehabilitating them before finding suitable permanent homes.

The most startling fact of all is that it is NOT illegal to keep a dog caged its entire life! What is a Puppy mill1



The recent trend of selling puppies through dedicated facebook pages is a popular way for backyard breeders, puppy mills, and scammers to sell puppies.  The ONLY way to ensure that you are not supporting the puppy mill industry is to visit the seller’s facility, ensure that you see the puppies nursing with their mother, and assess the health, temperament, and living conditions of the mother.

Online ‘breeders’ will often ask that you send money in advance in return for shipping a puppy, or to secure the puppy of your choice.

PAWS will NEVER recommend sending money in advance. Reputable breeders have waiting lists for their puppies and they welcome meeting potential buyers before requesting deposits.

BUYER BEWARE!  Not only will you never see how the parent dogs are treated, but you may never see your puppy – OR your money.