The Truth About Pet Stores

Your local pet shop may seem like a lively, alluring place for animals, but what many people are unaware of is the shop’s natural use of appealing kittens, puppies, and other small animals in order to raise prices on labeled “purebreds”. Large chain pet stores such as Petco, Petsmart, and Pets Plus are simply an industry looking to make a profit.

Just about anyone could walk into a pet store and buy an animal. As long as you are 18, any working employee will hand off an animal even if the buyer does not know the basic needs, care, and responsibility required. Having no background check system is just one of the many illicit approaches of pet stores.

A pet store may seem like a fun job for many teenagers, but this can potentially put the animals’ lives in jeopardy. Emily Miller stated, “Almost every chain pet store hires teens with minimal background checks on if they are actually fit to be caring for lots of animals.” Many parents also resort to buying children small animals from pet stores such as hamsters, parakeets, or turtles. While having a pet teaches responsibility, it could also be detrimental if there is a lack of care given.

One huge misconception about birds is that they like having a mirror and reflective objects in their environment. This creates a false sense of reality. Birds can become too attached or obsessive over the mirror. Even with this concern for the bird’s mental health, pet stores still market bird mirrors and hang them in their cages on display. Another misconception is hermit crabs. Hermit crabs in pet stores are marketed in small containers, however this is misleading information because hermit crabs need a large enough enclosure to house a heat lamp.

You might be wondering why these stores are in business if they are such a harmful environment for animals; it’s simple, these stores are the most convenient way to simply buy a pet quickly and also buy supplies all in one trip. 

It is evident that changes and regulations need to be made. Some solutions to common problems associated with chain pet stores could be providing the customer with the adequate information and detailed care for each individual pet in a brochure. To improve the reliability of a pet store, “Hire more competent people and have larger facilities so animals have more space. Also, instead of selling the pets, store employees could put people in touch with reputable breeders or rescues, and make a commission from recommending” advised Beth McNavage.  Unfortunately, it would cost more money, but having more people inspecting the facilities and requiring background checks before the purchase of a pet would keep the animal’s needs in best interests.

Even though it is convenient to purchase a pet at your local pet store, it is more reputable and better off for the pet if you purchase through a rescue or reliable breeder. Rescues offer better prices and provide the buyer with all the information needed to care for the pet properly. Pet stores give minimal information that is often misleading and are simply a business looking to make a profit off animal sales.