Gifting an Animal this Holiday Season

If a new puppy or companion animal is on your family’s gift list this holiday season, be sure to adopt, not shop.  We encourage that people spend time thinking about their expectations before “gifting” an animal.  A companion animal is a long-term commitment, and can be the best friend you could ever have.  That being said, proper homework is needed to make the right match.

The holiday season can put some families at additional risk if they are seeking to buy a companion animal. The commercial dog breeding industry times litters to be available for holiday purchases, which can add to the number of unhealthy pets on the market.

Puppy mills are high production commercial breeding facilities that confine large numbers of dogs, often in unsanitary conditions, in wire cages, and without heat or human interaction. Due to the large volume of dogs, and the desire to keep costs low and profits high, dogs in these facilities often go without veterinary care. As a result, puppy mill puppies often suffer from any number of genetic defects and serious health issues. 

How can you tell if a puppy has come from a puppy mill? 

If a store sells puppies, they are likely coming from a puppy mill or back-yard breeder.  Responsible breeders never sell wholesale to a store. In Michigan, stores are not required to provide information about the pet’s origin. Even if this information is provided, many puppy mills are out-of-state, making a visit to the breeder difficult.

Stores that sell dogs (and cats in some cases), are different from those that exclusively work with rescue groups to offer homeless pets for adoption. Our local pet supplies stores, including Chow Hound, Petco, PetSmart and Pet Supplies Plus, do not sell puppies or kittens. Instead they support adoption of rescued animals. For example, Humane Society of West Michigan has rescued kittens and cats (and at some locations, rabbits) at the following off-site adoption locations:

Chow Hound Off-site Adoption locations

Chow Hound Northland, Chow Hound Standale, Chow Hound Cascade, Chow Hound Breton, Chow Hound Eastern, Chow Hound Byron Center, Chow Hound Jenison

Petco Off-site Adoption location

Petco Alpine

PetSmart Off-site Adoption location

PetSmart East Paris

Pet Supplies Plus

Pet Supplies Plus East Beltline

 How should you find your new furry friend? 

Families looking for companion puppies, dog, kittens, cats or small animals like rabbits can visit us at 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI or go online at