ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Animal Rights & Welfare

How to Identify a Puppy Mill over the phone

Updated on July 7, 2011
This is what a Puppy Mill can look like.
This is what a Puppy Mill can look like. | Source

Puppy Mills in the Spotlight

Puppy mills have been all over the news for the last few years so any puppy mill wanting to stay in business must disguise themselves. If you do not want to support a puppy mill then you must first be able to discern the difference between a caring breeder and a puppy mill. This may be more difficult than you may think; especially since many puppy mills operate on the internet or through front groups. In the following section I will give you some of the indicators of a puppy mill, many of which you probably would have never considered.

Warning signs

There are some signs of a puppy mill that are easily recognized such as filthy animals, small cages and dirty environments but these things are often kept hidden from customers so you must ask more subtle questions to determine if you are dealing with a puppy mill or not. Here are some questions you can ask a breeder over the phone to get an idea if they are legitimate.

Questions to ask a breeder:

  • How many dogs do you have? (much more than thirty to forty animals is a warning sign.)
  • What dog food do you feed? (Puppy mills feed the least expensive food possible. This website rates dog foods. Almost every major brand that the average person is familiar with is very poor quality.)
  • Are you USDA licensed? (In order to sell puppies to pet stores you must be USDA licensed. Pet stores almost exclusively get there animals from puppy mills, so USDA licensing is a big warning sign. )
  • Are your puppies checked by a vet? (vet checking is expensive so puppy mills probably wont do this)
  • How many different breeds do you have? (puppy mills usually have many different breeds, most legitimate breeders don't have more than three different breeds of dogs.)


What is a puppy mill?

Merriam-Webster defines a puppy mill as "a commercial farming operation in which purebred dogs are raised in large numbers." This is not the popular understanding of the term "Puppy Mill" however. The term is most often understood as a breeding facility that abuses and does not provide for the welfare of the animals; usually on a large scale.

Do dogs inherently have more rights that Cattle or chickens?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Yikes- great tips! Puppy mills are rather horrifying. I'm glad you've made it easier for folks to look for the warning signs.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Excellent advice for all dog lovers. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Whenever I get a dog from a breeder I always go and visit the breeder and ask for a complete tour. I will usually meet the mother and the father of the puppy as well. Good hub on what to ask about. Voted Up and useful. Puppy mills are heartbreaking.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Very good hub! Voted up and useful. My beautiful English yellow lab, Lexi, was used to breed dogs in a puppy mill. The owner treated her and the others like cattle. They ate out of a trough, slept in a chickencoop and never played. A wonderful organization called Rudy's Rescue convinced the owners to give up the adult dogs and we got Lexi. It took a while for her to become a "real dog" with us...she was much like a newly-released prisoner from a concentration camp. Blank stare, very scared. Today she is a well-adjusted and totally spoiled member of our family!