We all love to pamper our pets. It’s no wonder then that the pet supplies industry is growing bigger and bigger, adding shelf after shelf of different brands of food, shampoos, beds, grooming tools, and toys. But before you set out to restock your pet’s food and bath supplies, here are a few things worth keeping in mind. Let’s try and take a look at some of the things that your pet store doesn’t tell you.
1. Many Pets Come From Mills Or Unethical Dealers
Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, even if the store claims that their animals come from USDA-certified breeders. Even if they are saying the truth, USDA standards are minimal and not enough to discourage unethical or inhumane practices. According to the Humane Society of United States estimates, half of 2 million puppies bred in mills are sold in pet stores. Even other animals are often purchased from large-scale breeders and dealers who keep them in large warehouses with unsanitary and inhumane conditions. The animals are kept cruelly and even abused.
2. The Pets May Carry Diseases
It isn’t uncommon to arrive home with your new pet only to find that it has parasites, a respiratory infection, or other illnesses. Animals don’t show these symptoms immediately after contracting an illness. Which is why it is best to make a visit to the vet’s clinic as soon as possible.
3. Vets Recommended May Not Be Reliable
Never go to a vet that your pet store recommends. Many vets work with the pet stores and won’t readily point out health issues in the pet you’ve bought as that might mean losing the business they get from the store. For the same reason, it might also be a good idea to decline offers of free vet visits when you bring home a new fur baby.
4. Pet Stores May Not Tell You The Whole Truth
Take whatever the owner and staff of the pet store say about the animals with a big pinch of salt. They all have sales targets in mind, and the moment they see you interacting with an animal, they may start praising the animal to get you to close the sale and get them closer to their targets.
For instance, they may praise smaller dogs to push their sales, but small dogs are likely to be aggressive. They make up for their weakness in size with aggression. Bigger dogs are more confident and calm. They may also advertise dwarf hamsters for their cuteness, but dwarf hamsters too are more aggressive than their bigger counterparts. They are also quick to bite.
5. Pet Store Discounts Are Not The Best Deal
An animal on sale isn’t always a great deal. The animal is most likely on a discount because the store can’t wait to get rid of it. The animal might be sick or getting old or may have been returned due to behavior issues.
6. Pet Store Cages Are Not The Ideal Size
Don’t go by the size of the cages that pet stores have. Cages and fish tanks in stores are usually smaller than what is ideal. They also house more animals than what’s recommended since they have the animals for a short period of time and don’t need bigger cages. A pet crate needs to be several times the size of the animals with enough space to move about and turn around. Ideally, it shouldn’t house more than one animal.
Also, even though pet stores sell fish bowls, and recommend them, it isn’t a good idea to keep your fish in on. Fish need more space to live comfortably. A goldfish, for instance, needs at least a 2-gallon aquarium with a filter.
7. Pet Stores Make You Spend Tons
Once you decide to get a pet, even if it is inexpensive, you don’t just spend on their food. When you visit the pet store, there are many other things that you would end up paying through your nose for. There’s the bed that the pet needs, a nice collar with a tag, a harness, a leash, toys to keep it engaged, shampoos and other grooming tools to keep its mane healthy. And last but not the least, treats for your cute little fur-baby. Did someone say inexpensive?
8. Product Labels Don’t Mean Much
Your eyes may be dazzled by the many brands you see on display at pet stores. Obviously, you’d always want the best for your pet. But here’s a million-dollar secret. Pet food labels don’t really matter. And unless your pet has a medical condition, it doesn’t need premium, higher-priced food. What’s way more important is that we feed our pets the right quantity of food to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.
9. Pet Stores May Push Unnecessary Products
Stores may push you into buying loads of bath products citing their benefits but puppies hardly need frequent baths. Unless your puppy has a strong odor, or spends a lot of time romping about in mud, a bath once in three months usually suffices. Regular grooming with a brush is usually enough to keep their stray hair and dander in control. In fact, bathing them too often can rob their skin of its natural oils that keep the fur healthy and shiny. Baths given too frequently, no matter which shampoo you use, can leave your puppy’s skin dry and itchy.
10. Pet Stores May Even Sell Harmful Products
Many pet stores sell products which can be cruel on an animal and products that they wouldn’t recommend personally, like spiked collars or muzzles or even rawhide dogchews. These can choke pets or give them diarrhea.
11. Pet Stores May Not Tell You About Pet Care
Stores may not educate you about pet handling, as they’re probably too busy pushing their merchandise. But it is highly recommended that small pets like birds, hamsters, or rats not be handled for a few days after you bring them home. They need some time to adjust to their new home.
12. Pet Stores With Signs Are More Reliable
If you see signs around the pet store saying things like “I am too tiny to play,” or “I am asleep. Please don’t wake me up,” that’s the sign of a humane pet store where the needs of the animals are kept in mind.
13. Accidents Happen In All Pet Stores
Accidents are a part and parcel of running a pet store. Sometimes the animals escape. And if the escaped animal happens to be something like a snake, the situation can escalate fairly quickly. Stores try and handle the emergencies without letting the customers in on it and pretending that everything is A-Okay. That doesn’t mean the stores are not to be trusted.
14. Pet Store Employees Love Pets Too
All said and done, pets may not always mean just business for pet store workers. Many of them might not really be experts, but they’re animal lovers and take good care of the animals. Many of them volunteer to be with the animals.