Alternatives to Buying Pets Online or from Pet Stores

Alternatives to Buying Pets Online or from Pet Stores

If you’re considering adding a new pet to the family, we urge you to adopt instead of buying a pet from an online retailer or pet store. By adopting from an animal shelter or rescue group, you are ensuring that you are not supporting and endorsing the inhumane commercial breeding facilities (puppy mills) that supply pet stores and sell pets online. As an extra bonus, you are doing your part to fight pet overpopulation and save homeless animals from euthanasia. Here are some ways to adopt: 

Use the Internet: 

Go to, the oldest and largest searchable directory on the Web of animals available for adoption. The Petfinder website includes photos, videos and descriptions of adoptable animals, shelter contact information and classified listings. 

Visit your local shelter: Animal shelters have lots of wonderful pets awaiting adoption every day. These organizations often screen their animals for health, temperament and behavior problems. Many have adoption counselors who are trained specifically to match the needs of the adopter with the needs of the animal. Even if you want a purebred, you should still consider looking at the shelter: 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred. 

Contact a breed rescue group:

 If your heart is set on a particular breed or species, there is probably a rescue group out there dedicated to taking in and rehoming that type of pet. To find breed rescue groups, search or do a Google search (type in your city or state name, the breed you want, and the word “rescue”). 

Additional tips: 

Some online classified websites have done the right thing by prohibiting ads for the sale of pets and animals on their sites, but they do allow people to post ads to rehome or adopt out pets. If you respond to such an ad, ask if you can visit the animal in his/her existing home. You want to make sure that you are adopting from a rescuer or an individual attempting to rehome a pet rather than a breeder. If someone is “adopting out” several litters of purebred puppies, has “more on the way,” and doesn’t seem to have adult animals in need as well,” this person may be a breeder.

If adoption is simply not an option and you choose to purchase from a breeder, please do some research to make sure that you are working with a responsible breeder. He or she should allow you to see where and how the dogs live, and should provide a contract guaranteeing that he/she will take back the dog if things don’t work out. Please visit these websites for additional information regarding responsible breeding: