Conditions at puppy mills are often inhumane


Puppy mills are on the top of the news again. These are
unregulated businesses where literally hundreds of puppies are
produced each year. The resident breeding dogs may produce as many
as 10 or more litters in their lifetime.
Puppy mills are on the top of the news again. These are unregulated businesses where literally hundreds of puppies are produced each year. The resident breeding dogs may produce as many as 10 or more litters in their lifetime.

Many live in total squalor, their enclosures too small for comfort. Some are never bathed. Some develop sores from the wire cage in which they live. Others develop even more serious infections that are often ignored.

Recently, in one revealing story, an investigator found a dog with a severe laceration on her leg where gangrene had set in. This dog hadn’t been seen by a veterinarian, and she had never been given proper medication. Yet she had just finished nursing another new litter of pups. She had to be euthanized.

It’s not uncommon for puppy mill dogs to be covered in filth. In many places, the dogs are in cages stacked on top of each other. They’re rarely taken out of these cages so the excrement of one can fall onto the cage below. This and other horrible situations have been documented by people who have visited these facilities. The latest expose came on the nationally televised “Oprah Winfrey Show” last week. There were pictures of dogs living in small wire cages their entire life. Some never get out onto a grass lawn nor are they ever allowed to run free. These dogs are only a commodity, kept solely to produce more puppies that can be sold to pet stores. They are often treated inhumanely. It’s going to take a lot more exposure by celebrities like Oprah before we can ever stop this animal abuse.

I discussed this with Matt Bershadker of the ASPCA last Sunday on our radio show “Petpourri.” The ASPCA has been working to stop this legalized abuse of dogs. But therein lies the problem. Puppy mill owners are not violating any legal statues. Everything they do is legal.

Nearly 100 percent of the puppies sold in pet stores throughout the United States are raised in puppy mills. And who can resist those cute little furry things? Over and over, we hear stories of someone going into a pet store to buy some fish or bird food. They walk by the pups and fall in love and take one home. Because of this, the puppy mill business is very profitable. Pet store owners need a ready supply because they sell so many of these pups.

So what’s the solution? It appears that our state governments will have to step in, making it illegal for puppy mills to exist. Several states have legislation pending. It’s a difficult issue, but for the sake of these poor dogs, something has to be done. If you want to help, check out Or you can write your state representative and tell him or her that puppy mills must be banished.


How safe is aspirin for dogs? My brother has an older dog, Mel, with pretty bad arthritis. He gives Mel as aspirin every morning and evening. Is this OK or is he going to poison his dog?


Actually, aspirin can be an effective medication to use for pain in many dogs. It’s relatively safe, and sometimes it’s all a dog needs for the discomfort of arthritic joints. Aspirin is not safe for cats and should not be given to them.

Aspirin can cause stomach upset or irritation. So it should always be given with a small amount of food. There are different formulations available over the counter at any pharmacy or grocery store that can help dogs avoid stomach reaction. Enteric-coated aspirin, like Ecotrin, is easier on the stomach. My favorite is Ascriptin, an aspirin product with Maalox added to it.

Dosage depends on the size of the dog. Ask your veterinarian for the right dose for Mel.


We have a Welsh corgi, Niles, who loves to chase squirrels. Trouble is, I think he probably wants to kill them. My mom wants to get a new kitten. I’m afraid that Niles might hurt this kitty. Have you heard of anyone getting a kitten to keep with a Corgi? Is it safe?


Actually, a lot of corgi owners have pet kitties as well. Most dogs usually do well with a cat in the house. But it’ll take some careful planning as you introduce them. Make sure that when they first meet, you’re in a neutral room, not where Niles is fed or sleeps. He might feel threatened in those areas. Have a few toys and treats for both of them. I’d also recommend Niles be on a leash as a precaution the first few times they are together. But I’ll bet it works out fine. Cats and dogs are persistently curious. With time, I bet Niles will be proud to have a new companion and playmate. Good luck. And send us some pictures!


It’s dog show time! The Gavilan Kennel Club is hosting its annual all-breed dog show next week. Bolado Park, just south of Hollister, will be full of dogs, all sizes and shapes for this fun and entertaining show. I’ll be there to take in the fun all day Friday and Saturday. So come join me and all the pooches, April 25-27 at Bolado Park. Let’s talk pets!

Pete Keesling is a veterinarian at San Martin Veterinary Hospital and hosts a radio talk show, Dr. Pete?s Petpourri, Sundays at 1 p.m. and Fridays at 7:10 a.m. on KSCO 1080 AM.

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