The Great Divide: Should I buy or adopt a pet?

If there was ever an enormously divisive question when it comes to pet ownership, this would be it. Countless times I have encountered friends and acquaintances that are both torn between adopting a dog from a shelter or purchasing one from a breeder. While both options can be beneficially to the dog and the owner, both options also carry several drawbacks. I wouldn’t say that one option is better than the other, however I do have my preferences just like the next person. Although my opinion may be a little biased being a French bulldog breeder myself. Being a breeder though has led me to extensive research and to learning several other aspects of dog ownership that may not be apparent to the new dog owner or occasional pet sitter. Be that as it may, I’m more than happy to share my experiences with you guys so you can make a better-informed decision or maybe think of something that you haven’t already.

The Million Dollar Question

So, to breed or not breed? That is the question, and a good one at that. Good breeders take several factors into consideration before choosing to breed a dog. For instance, in French bulldogs some of the things we look for are body composition, structure, paw set, eye set, ear set, weight, height, and rope. Just to name a few. Temperament and personality also play a big role in breeding as well as pedigree. As you can see already a good breeder would have identified several “Red Flags” that could potentially lead to long term health issues down the road. Dogs that have undesirable traits would not continue to be bred and would eventually be sold as a pet only to a wonderful pet home under a partial registration with the AKC (https://www.akc.org/). The dogs with desirable traits would be bred to others who also carry desirable traits and down the line the “Bad Genes” would get bred out. Leaving only healthy, strong offspring carrying only the desirable traits pertaining to the breed. A good breeder will always work to improve the breed.

Now let’s look at what could potentially happen when adopting a pet from a pet shop or a pet rescue. Chances are the dog was “donated” to the pet shop, rescued by a pet rescue service, or picked up by animal control. More than likely there is no registration paperwork or pedigree information available for the animal. And 9 times out 10 there is no shot record or past medical history (Shot Record/Pet Health Record, etc.) available either. So, adopting this dog is akin to rolling the dice in a Vegas Casino; or better yet, as the saying in the hit movie Forest Gump goes, “…you never know what you’re going to get”. There is a good probability that you will get an awesome little friend that brings many, many years of happiness to your life with no health problems what so ever. But on flip side to that coin, you can get a dog that has health issue after health issue and can quickly rack up your vet bills to the $1000s.

Really this is the biggest risk for a potential pet owner takes. If you’re not in the market for a particular breed and are just looking for a furry friend to love unconditionally, then pet adoption could be a safe bet. If you’re looking for a trendy breed or a specific breed, then choosing to buy from a breeder may be a better option.

 

Join the Community

Another Benefit of buying from a breeder is that along with a puppy pack you can also get a lifetime of support. As a new dog owner, I’m sure there are hundreds of questions racing through your mind. Especially if your new pet is an adorable little puppy! I’m sure we can all agree there will be bouts of worry, uneasiness, unknowing, and anxiety. Just like having a child, a new pet owner will undoubtedly find themselves in situations where they are at a wits end. From how to potty train, to house breaking and teaching tricks, to what food to feed, it’s easy to be consumed by uncertainty. A good breeder will be just a phone call or an email away to answer most of your questions if not all. This can be a great support system.  Especially in a emergency when most Vet offices are closed. Of course, there are numerous Facebook groups one can join and easily find answers there as well. However, the breeder may be the best choice. It’s always a good idea to communicate with the breeder because he/she may have had similar issues with other dogs with the same pedigree.

 

Get the Answers you Need

     If you do decide to adopt, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of sources for information pertaining to your pet’s health that can be found on the internet. A good reliable source is PETMD (https://www.petmd.com/). There is a plethora of information from Accidents and injuries (https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/accidents-injuries), to Common Emergencies (https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/common-emergencies), to Poison & Toxicity (https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/poisoning-toxicity). This a good site to have saved in your favorites tab. You never know, it may come in handy one day.  Although it is a trusted and highly recommended site, PETMD is not an end all to every pet health related question. But it is a good reference and source to rely on in a pinch. I have used it myself in the past. Most of the issues you will most likely tackle will be minor in nature (hopefully) and as you gain experience these “emergencies” will occur less and less. Though at the time it may feel like the sky is falling.

     Aside from your pet’s health, another question many dog owners ponder is what exactly to feed your dog, or how much you should be feeding. There are some pretty good articles that can be found pertaining to several questions such as these online as well. A good source for general information is How I met my dog (https://www.howimetmydog.com/). Here you will find a lot of answers not commonly given. This another good site to have in your rolodex. With a little research I’m sure there are several other sites with new studies and research that will benefit you and your dog. As with human medicine, pet medicine is ever changing; information is always changing, and it seems as though new ideas are always being introduced. I would recommend spending a little time researching before you make any drastic decisions on how to best care for your loved one.

 

Research, Research, Research

     As you probably noticed, a theme in this blog revolves around research. This is probably your best tool when it comes to making the “big decision”. It is always better to make an informed decision before anything and to clear up any questions and concerns you might have about a certain breed. Be sure to ask your breeder or pet rescuer questions about the pet you’re adopting or buying. Researching now could potentially save you tremendous heartache in the future.