Adopting vs Buying a Dog: Which is the Better Choice?

Are you thinking about bringing a dog into your family? Congratulations!

This choice isn’t always straightforward, especially if you have a specific breed in mind.

Adoption offers the chance to save a life, with thousands of dogs in shelters waiting for a loving home.

On the other hand, buying from a breeder might appeal to you if you’re looking for particular breed traits or lineage. Lets explore Adopting vs Buying a Dog:

What’s the Difference?

Adopting a dog means saving its life by providing a home for a dog that was already in a shelter or foster care and had nowhere else to go. It’s a remarkable act that all dog parents should consider doing.

Spending money to buy a dog is considered buying. Whether the puppy is at a pet store or with a breeder, it’s there to be sold. This way, dog breeders can earn money by breeding puppies as a source of stable income.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Adopting a Dog from a Shelter or Rescue:

Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue has its benefits and drawbacks:

Adopting: Opportunity to Save a Dogs Life

Saving a life and offering a second chance is a significant benefit of adopting a dog from a shelter. Around 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters in the US each year. (1)

Each year, roughly 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats). (2)

By choosing to adopt, you’re giving a dog a second chance at a hopeful life.

Pros of adopting:

  1. Saving a life and positively impacting an animal’s well-being.
  2. Offering love, care, and support to dogs who have faced hardship.
  3. Lower adoption fees make it more accessible for individuals with limited budgets.
  4. Adoption fees generally cover essential medical procedures and services.

Cons of adopting:

  1. Uncertain background and potential behavioral issues in rescue dogs.
  2. Limited availability of specific breeds or puppies in shelters.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Dog from a Breeder:

Selecting a dog from a reputable breeder offers several benefits and challenges.

Pros of buying:

  1. Guarantee of purebred heritage and predictable characteristics.
  2. Vaccinations and health checks are included.
  3. Responsible breeders provide puppies with documented ancestry and genetic health testing.
  4. Access to Continual Support, Advice, and Breeder Expertise

Reputable breeders place a high priority on health and well-being. They conduct thorough health screenings to ensure that breeding dogs are free from genetic disorders and hereditary diseases.

Cons of buying:

  1. High Initial Costs When Buying from Recognized Breeders.
  2. Popular and specific dog breeds come with a large price tag.
  3. Purebred puppies from reputable breeders are usually far more expensive than those adopted from a shelter.

The Realities of Puppy Mills

Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities that prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals in their care. (3)

Dogs are often confined to small, cramped cages in filthy conditions, with little to no access to fresh air, sunlight, or proper socialization.

This lack of basic care can result in a range of health issues, including infections, parasites, and genetic disorders.

Dogs in puppy mills are often forced to breed repeatedly, with little to no veterinary care provided.

Their priority is profit over the well-being of the animals in their care.

The puppies born in these mills often suffer from a lack of early socialization and exposure to a loving, caring environment.

As a result, they may struggle with fear, anxiety, and behavioral issues later in life.

These dogs are denied the chance to be properly trained and may require extensive patience and rehabilitation.

Puppy mills make me sick.

By choosing to adopt from shelters or reputable breeders, rather than supporting the cruel practices of puppy mills, we can help to end the cycle of suffering for these innocent animals.

National Adoption Awareness

According to a news article published by KLTV, there is an official ‘National Rescue Dog Day’ on May 20th that aims to raise awareness of how animal shelters are flooding with dogs of all breeds urgently needing homes.

Their main drive is to encourage adoption and put an end to euthanasia. The Best Friends Animal Society Resource Center is a strong supporter of this movement, helping to raise support and awareness.

When Adopting a Dog Makes More Sense

Purchasing a purebred dog when there are so many dogs in shelters or foster homes who are in dire need of a forever home may seem irresponsible to anyone who works in dog rescue.

Furthermore, a lot of rescue dogs are vaccinated, behavior-evaluated, and spayed or neutered, making them well-rounded pets.

When Buying a Puppy Makes More Sense

The buyers are well-informed and knowledgeable about the dog breed they want. They have done thorough research on health issues, energy levels, and typical behavioral traits of their desired breed.

Your Best Friend Forever

A recent poll from the American Psychiatric Association says that 69% of owners say their pets help lower stress and anxiety. (4)

Benefits of your new canine pal

  • Dogs provide companionship and unconditional love to their owners.
  • They are loyal and protective, often forming strong bonds with their human family.
  • Dogs can provide emotional support and help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • They are great for physical exercise and can improve overall health and well-being.
  • Dogs have been known to detect illnesses and provide assistance to people with disabilities.
  • They are great for socializing and can help improve social connections for their owners

Final Thoughts on Adopting vs. Buying a Dog:

Choosing between adopting and buying a dog is a deeply personal decision.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on what aligns with your values and circumstances.

Whether you decide to adopt or buy, both paths lead to the joy of welcoming a new, loving companion into your life.

Why is adopting better than buying?

Adopting a dog is widely considered better than buying one because it saves a life, helps reduce pet overpopulation, and promotes responsible pet ownership. By adopting, you are giving a second chance to a deserving animal in need of a loving home, while also contributing to the well-being of homeless dogs in shelters.

What are the disadvantages of adopting a pet?

  1. One potential disadvantage of adopting a pet is that they may come with unknown behavioral or health issues due to their past experiences.
  1. Another disadvantage is that the adoption process can be time-consuming and may require patience as the new pet adjusts to their new environment.

Is there a difference between adopting and buying a dog?

  1. When adopting a dog, you are giving a second chance to a dog in need and potentially saving them from euthanasia in a shelter. On the other hand, buying a dog from a breeder may contribute to the cycle of overbreeding and the operation of puppy mills, which prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals.
  1. Dogs in shelters are waiting for a second chance, and by adopting, you’re granting one. In doing so, you’re making an impact on overpopulation. When you buy from a breeder, you may unwittingly contribute to the commodification of dogs, ultimately exacerbating the problem of pet overpopulation.


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