Should You Adopt or Shop?

Pictured here are dogs at an animal shelter in Texas waiting to be adopted.

Texas Humane Legislation Network

Pictured here are dogs at an animal shelter in Texas waiting to be adopted.

Lucy Lu, Photojournalist

When it comes to pets, should you adopt or shop? This is a topic that many are passionate about. The hashtag “adopt don’t shop” on social media leads many to wonder if it is better to adopt from an animal shelter or to shop and buy from a breeder. Approximately 90.5 million households in America own a dog, and out of these numbers, 40% are adopted. Many argue that it is more ethical to adopt a dog, while others don’t see a problem with purchasing one of their choice.  

shopping contributes to animal mills and puts money into the pockets of those who abuse animals for profit.”

— Hasti Khodabandehlou (9)

Adopting a pet is the preferred choice for many as it saves more than just one life. Many shelters in America get overfilled with pets and end up having to euthanize animals. By adopting, you give the animal a new life and make space in the shelter for another animal in need. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), 6.2 million animals enter U.S. shelters nationwide every year. Out of these pets, 1.5 million will be put down due to lack of space, adopters, and more. In addition, many breeders and sellers get their puppies from puppy mills. Puppy mills are unethical animal farms where dogs are forced to reproduce in poor conditions. By not buying from possible puppy mills, we can limit their financial gain. Hasti Khodabandehlou (9) agrees with adoption over shopping and shares that “shopping contributes to animal mills and puts money into the pockets of those who abuse animals for profit.”

On the other side of the argument, there are people who believe there’s nothing wrong with shopping for a pet and purchasing it from a breeder. They often argue that it is still possible to responsibly purchase from a good breeder that doesn’t support and work with puppy mills. They argue that the dogs being bought are often purebred and hard to find in shelters. Many people have breeds of dogs they prefer which leads them to shop instead of adopting. Furthermore, supporters of shopping for pets also suggest that buying can give you a healthier pet. With shelter animals, the genetics and health of their parents are unknown, whereas with buying you can request to see the parents of the animal and ask for a medical history. 

Although there are two sides when it comes to getting a pet, you should choose what works best for you. If you do have a specific breed in mind, remember to check rescues for the breed before buying the pet from a breeder. Adopting or shopping can both be good when done responsibly with proper research.