- National Puppy Day is celebrated on March 23 annually.
- Puppy farms continue to be one of Australia’s largest cause of animal cruelty
- The rise in online purchasing, along with ‘designer dogs’ is a major reason puppy farms continue to exist
- FOUR PAWS is urging Australians to help fight puppy farms by supporting the adoption of shelter animal
National Puppy Day
National Puppy Day was launched in the US in 2006 to celebrate all the wonders and joy that puppies bring to our lives.
FOUR PAWS’ Australia National Director, Rebecca Linigen, says the day is a reminder of the companionship dogs provide.
“Dogs are beloved companions that provide so much emotional and physical support,” says Rebecca Linigen.
“To share your home and life with a dog is truly special and is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.”
Celebrated on March 23, National Puppy Day aims to raise awareness of the dogs who continue to suffer in puppy farms.
Dogs like Lily, who spent the first part of her life living in horrid conditions on a puppy farm in NSW.
Despite being rescued along with hundreds of other dogs many years ago, Lily still shows the physical and emotional scars from her life on the farm.
Ideas on how to celebrate National Puppy Day
Spend the day with your pooch Take them for walks, a swim, or have a play at the local dog park.
Adopt or foster a puppy in need If you’re ready to take on the responsibility of having a puppy, adopting or fostering one is the best way to go. Check out your local shelters and rescue organisations to find a pup in need of a loving home.
Support an animal charity If you aren’t in a position to adopt or foster, there’s many other ways to show your support. Why no donate to, or volunteer at, your favourite rescue organisation? Animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to assist with feeding, cleaning, and even walking the dogs.
Host a puppy playdate with all your favourite people (and their pets!)
Encourage others to support National Puppy Day by sharing your photos and messages on social media.
The cruelty of puppy farms
Puppy farms – or mills – are arguably one of Australia’s largest causes of animal cruelty.
While the conditions and veterinary care may vary at different puppy farms, the reason for them is the same, to intensively breed dogs.
These animals are fed and given water but are otherwise often denied even the most basic animal-welfare right.
FOUR PAWS has long campaigned for an end to puppy farms and credits the demand for ‘designer dogs’ as a reason for the ongoing trade.
“It has become common for Australians to buy animals online via classified ads sites,” says Rebecca.
“Especially those breeds who are considered ‘designer’ and therefore attract a high dollar value.
“This demand has given rise to puppy farmers who use animals as breeding machines, focusing on producing a high number of litters every year.
Dogs in puppy farms can suffer a host of welfare concerns, says Rebecca.
“This includes overcrowding, ongoing confinement, over-breeding, early infant-mother separation; the animals are treated as commodities.
“The farms are set up like commercial breeding facilities and the breeding animals are kept generally in very poor conditions.
“All the dogs are kept in small, cramped spaces, with little lighting, no ventilation or heat.
“Puppy farms can contain hundreds of dogs at any one time, all living in squalor.”
The constant breeding can also lead to significant veterinary and behavioural issues for dogs.
“These dogs end up being surrendered at shelters later in life and end up costing exorbitant amounts of money.”
“The females often suffer horrific physical injuries from constant pregnancies and birthing, while the males are often neglected and mistreated.”
The puppies are taken away from their mothers before the end of their nursing period; deprived of fundamental social contact.
The pups are taken from the
ir mothers too early, and only a few weeks after birth, are sold to pet stores or advertised online.
How we can end puppy farms
FOUR PAWS’ belief is that adopting a pet from a shelter is the best way to find a new companion.
“Every year in Australia, tens of thousands of pets needing homes are euthanised,” says Rebecca.
“There are so many animals waiting for a home to call their own, including a large variety of breeds, sizes, and ages.
Shelter pets go through extensive assessments of both their health and behaviour, and are vaccinated, microchipped and desexed.
The dogs will have been vaccinated, microchipped, and neutered ready for their new home.
“If just a fraction of Australians adding a dog to their home chose to rescue instead of breeder-buying, we could end the killing of healthy companion animals in shelters.”
Visit their website more information on Four Paws’ campaigns and how you can help.
Four Paws’ tips for people looking to bring a puppy into their family
Avoid buying animals through online websites or advertisements, newspapers, and pet shops.
Always visit a reputable and licensed breeder, and ask to see their licence
Check they have the correct paperwork for an animal
Check the general health of the puppy and their surrounding area – do they appear well cared for?
Ensure the puppy is at least eight weeks old before being separated from their mother.
Make sure all the proper health checks, procedures and paperwork has been done – it’s essential the puppy is fully vaccinated.
Ask lots of questions! A reputable breeder should always be happy to not only answer them, but offer ongoing support after you choose to purchase an animal from them
Spend time with the animal before buying to ensure they have the right temperament for you and your family