What are Puppy Mills?

Many dog owners may have heard the term “puppy mill” thrown around, but not everyone knows what they are. Puppy mills are a nickname for bad or negligent large-scale commercial breeders. Of course, not all breeders who sell dogs are bad. A puppy mill usually refers to a place that doesn’t provide dogs with adequate space or services. Puppy mills work similarly to large commercial farms, with anywhere between 10 to 1,000 breeding dogs.

Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are actively opposed to puppy mills, many of which are legal operations, because they claim that these large-scale breeders put profit above canine well-being.

“Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water, and socialization,” the ASPCA explained. “Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise, or basic grooming … Breeding dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or breathe fresh air.”

The sanitary conditions are also often bad, leaving dogs to live near their waste. Puppy mills typically sell their dogs to pet stores, through brokers, or over the Internet. They’re known for lying about records and falsifying documents, the ASPCA explained.

Blurred lines with some breeders 

Online magazine Dog Owner’s Guide argued that, although puppy mills are bad for dogs, some measures to prevent puppy mills make it tough on responsible breeders. Taxes, fees and restrictions can sometimes punish caring breeders as well because of how they’re written.

The issue comes from the inability to adequately define a puppy mill. Although they are universally seen as a bad place for dogs, distinguishing between them and legitimate breeders is more challenging than it appears.

Dog Owner’s Guide explained that puppy mills started after World War II to supply pet and department stores with puppies. However, many of the people who were breeding these dogs were farmers who didn’t know anything specifically about dogs, keeping them living in poor conditions.

Over time, animal groups tried to address this through lobbying and public awareness. This has led to many local rule changes and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the breeding and selling of puppies on a large scale. This act did not define a puppy mill, however, and hasn’t gone as far as many think it should.

Under the law, it’s legal for dogs to spend their entire lives in cages stacked on one another with no more than 6 inches of space in each direction, according to the ASPCA. But it also requires feeding, water, cleanliness and veterinary care.

Puppy mills today in the US

The ASPCA reported that there are 2,000 to 3,000 USDA-approved breeders in America that could be called puppy mills. Although they’re federally regulated, they don’t necessarily provide the care that the ASPCA, dog lovers, or other advocacy associations may want. Missouri has the most commercial dog farms in the U.S., with other dense pockets in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.

There are also some puppy mills that are illegal and not regulated. Organizations like the ASPCA, various state SPCAs and humane societies have worked to close down specific puppy mills around the U.S. Also, they suggest that people don’t get their dogs from stores in order to collapse the puppy mill supply system over time. Instead, adopting or buying directly from a smaller, respectable breeder is preferable.

If you’re especially concerned about the well-being of dogs from puppy mills, some have been rescued and you can adopt them. When you’re training your survivor dog, turn to PetPlus for medication, healthy food and other goodies to help your dog lead a fulfilling and rich life.


How Big Will My Dog Get? Tips for Estimating Your Dog’s Full-Grown Size


Size is one of the most important factors to consider when adopting a puppy. Do you want a small dog that will fit on your lap, or a large dog that you can take hiking and camping? Or perhaps you want something in between — a medium-sized dog that is the best of both worlds?

Before bringing a puppy home for good, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Your dog’s eventual size will have an impact on their exercise needs, grooming requirements, and cost. So how can you figure out how big your dog will get? Let’s take a look at answering the question, “How big will my dog get?”

Estimating the Final Size of a Purebred

Estimating the final size of a purebred dog is not all that difficult. You can get a good idea by looking at the pup’s parents and at breed standards on the American Kennel Club’s website, where you’ll find each breed’s typical weight range, height, and more.

Measuring Mixed Breeds

Figuring out the final size of a mixed breed pup can be more tricky, especially if you adopt a dog from a shelter and the dog’s breeds, age, and parents’ sizes are unknown. However, there are some ways to estimate a pup’s growth potential, outlined below.

Growth Considerations

There are certain considerations that can help you project your pal’s eventual size:

  • Look at the breed and size of both parents. If the parents are the same breed and around the same size, you can get a pretty good idea of how large your dog will grow. If the parents are different breeds and different sizes, the bitch’s size will have more influence on your pup’s eventual size than the sire’s.
  • Some suggest that you can estimate your pup’s size by doubling their weight at 4 months old. For giant breed dogs, double their weight at 5 months instead.
  • While it’s not an exact science, looking at your pup’s paws can help you predict their final size. A pup with petite paws isn’t going to grow to a weight they can’t support, and a dog with large, floppy paws isn’t going to end up a dainty puffball.
  • Height vs. weight: a dog will stop growing in height before it stops growing in weight. Most dogs will be at 75% of their final height at around 6 months old, but they can keep putting on weight for another 6 months to another year, depending on the breed

When Do Dogs Stop Growing?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including size and breed. In general, small breed dogs stop growing sooner than large breed dogs. This will help answer your question of “How big will my dog get?” and give you ample time to prepare.

No matter how big your dog get, PetPlus makes it easier to give them the care and protection they deserve!

Interested in trying PetPlus? Sign up here and get your first two weeks free!



How To Pick The Perfect Pet Name

Bringing a pet home for the first time is one of life’s greatest joys. To prepare for your new pal’s arrival, you’ll need to select food, toys, a veterinarian, household supplies, and oh yes, a name! The sooner you begin using your buddy’s new name, the sooner they’ll learn it and start feeling right at home. So how does one come up with a good pet name? Check out these useful tips.

General Tips For Choosing A Pet Name

When it comes time to choose a pet name, consider these basic guidelines:

  • Pick a name that your pet will easily understand. One or two syllable names tend to be the best.
  • Avoid names that sound similar to command words. The name “Bo” might be too close to “No,” for example.
  • Avoid names that sound like the names of other people or animals living in the house. Is your son named Jack? Don’t name your dog Max.
  • Don’t change the name of a shelter pet or pre-owned pet. Trying to a force a new name on your pal may confuse them and make them feel anxious.

RELATED STORY: How To Adopt A Dog Or Cat: Every Question Answered

How To Come Up With A Pet Name

Ready to start brainstorming names? Need a little inspiration? Here are some ideas:

Pull From Pop Culture
Are you a movie buff? TV fanatic? Music enthusiast? Bona fide bookworm? Why not take inspiration from your favorite form of entertainment? If you’re a David Bowie fan, you could name your furball Ziggy. Do you love the Star Wars movies? How about the names Obi, Yoda, or Leia? The possibilities are endless when you look to what you love.

Answer The Call Of Nature
Nature is filled with loads of lovely names for pets. If you have a fluffy Chow Chow dog, you could name them Bear! Or how about a gray kitten named Pigeon? There are plenty of great flower and plant names, too. We like Aster, Quince, Fig, and Tulip.

Explore Other Cultures
Consider your breed’s heritage when choosing a name. Do you have a German Shepherd or German Pinscher? Check out some German human names, such as Wendel or Bamey. Bringing home a Persian cat? Look up Persian names like Gita, Ebi, and Lila.

Pick From The Most Popular
Looking for a name that is a guaranteed winner? These are the top dog and cat names of 2013 according to Vetstreet.com.

Top 5 Female Puppy Names:
1. Bella
2. Daisy
3. Lucy
4. Molly
5. Sadie

Top 5 Male Puppy Names:
1. Max
2. Buddy
3. Charlie
4. Rocky
5. Cooper

RELATED STORY: The Most Popular Dog Breeds

Top 5 Female Kitten Names:
1. Bella
2. Lucy
3. Kitty
4. Luna
5. Chloe

Top 5 Male Kitten Names:
1. Oliver
2. Max
3. Tiger
4. Charlie
5. Simba

RELATED STORY: The Top Cat Breeds In The U.S.

Once you choose a name for your pet, start using it right away, but only when you want to get your pet’s attention. If you use it too often at first — for example, in conversations with your significant other – your pet may simply think it’s just another common word.

When you do use your pet’s name, offer them praise, attention, and treats when they look at you. Eventually, your pet will recognize their name and you can stop rewarding every acknowledgement.

How did you come up with your pet’s name? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more.


How To Help A Teething Pup

When your puppy is 3 to 4 months old, they will lose their baby teeth and new, permanent teeth will begin to emerge. As you might imagine, this process can cause swelling, redness, and irritation, and your puppy will seek out ways to soothe the pain. The most common behavior? Chewing, and not always on items that are appropriate.

There are plenty of stories of pups chomping on shoes, gnawing the sofa, and nibbling on the molding, but fortunately, there are things you can do to help soothe your pal’s pain and protect your belongings in the process.

1. Provide One or Two Appropriate Chews

If you don’t give your pup something to chew on, they will find something to chew on. Instead of leaving your buddy to their own devices, offer them a chew or two — and only a chew or two. If you offer your puppy too many options, it will make it difficult for them to distinguish between what is appropriate to chew on around the house and what isn’t. You can entice your puppy to chew their new toys by smearing a bit of peanut butter on them. And remember to supervise your puppy when they are chewing, especially if they are munching on something like a bully stick or rawhide that can break into small pieces.

RELATED STORY: Your New Puppy: Everything You Need To Know

2. Freeze To Ease

Frozen items help to soothe teething mouths by numbing sore gums and reducing inflammation. Offer your puppy an ice cube, wet down a rag, twist it into a knot, and freeze it to create a satisfying toy, or freeze a carrot and let the your pal munch on it. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A and Potassium and make a great snack, but because they are also high in fiber, you should feed them in moderation to avoid an upset stomach.

3. Puppy-Proof Your House

Even if you offer your pup lots of safe and healthy chews, they may occasionally still look for other things to nibble on. Puppy-proof your house to make sure that they won’t ingest anything harmful, such as poisonous foods or loose items on tables or shelves. You should also hide electrical cords, which if chewed on could be fatal. If you want to teach your puppy not to chew on something in particular, consider purchasing some Bitter Apple Spray. Bitter Apple Spray is a non-toxic, odorless formula that can be sprayed directly onto furniture or items that your pup is likely to go after. The taste is terrible to a dog, so chances are they won’t go back for a second bite.

RELATED STORY: How To Buy Puppy Supplies You’ll Actually Use

4. Monitor Your Pup’s Teeth

Teething usually lasts a few weeks to a month (you’ll get through it!), and you should keep an eye on your pup’s teeth and take them for a vet visit during the process to ensure that all of the new teeth are coming in appropriately. Retained deciduous teeth can cause problems down the road, and it is better to catch the issue early than face the medical and financial consequences later.

How do you help your puppy with teething? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, supplies, boarding, and more.