Petland is one of the largest retail pet store chains in the United States, with over 150 locations across the country. As a leading pet retailer, Petland prides itself on providing high-quality puppies to families looking to add a furry friend to their home.
However, not every cute puppy in their stores finds a forever home right away. So what happens to those adorable Petland pups that don’t get purchased?
The Challenges of Selling Puppies
While Petland offers a wide selection of popular dog breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, French Bulldogs, and German Shepherds; not every pup they acquire sells quickly. There are a few key reasons why some puppies take longer to find their perfect match:
- Breed preferences vary by region – Certain breeds are more popular in some parts of the US than others. A French Bulldog might sell quickly in a big city but take longer to find a home in a rural area.
- Some colors and coat patterns are less desirable – Many people have aesthetic preferences when choosing a pup. Unique or less common colors/patterns can mean a longer wait.
- Individual puppy personalities – Like humans, each pup has its own distinctive personality. A shy or timid puppy might take longer to appeal to potential owners.
- Peak puppy seasons – Most puppies are born in the spring and summer. Petland sees heavy traffic during these months, so off-season pups might stay available longer.
- Market saturation – If a particular breed is already well-represented in local shelters and rescues, it can be harder for Petland to compete with those lower-priced options.
So while Petland strives to find great homes for all pups in their care, some inevitably end up staying at their facilities a bit longer while awaiting purchase. But that certainly doesn’t mean they receive substandard treatment in the meantime!
1. Sheltering in Place at Petland Stores
Petland’s number one priority for pups that don’t immediately sell is keeping them comfortable and cared for within their current store. Each Petland location has dedicated animal care staffers whose job is to look after the pups’ daily needs.
Unsold puppies remain in the store’s on-site kennel area, not housed within display cases. Here they enjoy climate-controlled temps, cozy blankets, fresh water, nutritious food, and regular exercise and playtime. Petland staff also provide affection and socialization through frequent cuddling, petting, and one-on-one play sessions.
Veterinary care is another hallmark of Petland’s in-store puppy sheltering. Their on-staff vets examine each pup routinely, providing vaccinations and medications as needed. Grooming is another service offered to keep coats clean and free of mats.
By focusing on safeguarding puppy health and socialization, Petland gives their longer-term pups the best chance at eventual adoption success. The stores also take many proactive measures to help puppies find their forever families.
2. Implementing Adoption Programs
One option Petland offers for pups needing some extra time to sell is formal adoption programs. Their “Pets for Vets” program allows military veterans to adopt pets for free. Senior citizens and teachers are also eligible for discount adoptions.
For pups over 4 months old, Petland partners with local animal shelters and rescue groups on events like “Adopt a Shelter Pet at Petland” days. These on-site events allow groups to showcase their adoptable pets. Petland provides space, supplies, and marketing support to assist with finding homes for older or special needs animals.
Petland also works with shelters and breed-specific rescues to transfer harder-to-place puppies into their adoption programs. Groups like Dachshund rescues or Husky rescues have networks to match pets with ideal owners. A puppy not selling in one city can find success through these breed-savvy networks.
3. Fostering Puppies with Pet Programs
Fostering is another creative tactic Petland utilizes for puppies needing more time to find the right match. Their Petland Pet Care Program allows employees to bring home “pet buddies” overnight or for weekends and holidays.
These trial runs give pups added socialization with different people and environments outside the store. It breaks up the monotony of shelter life and provides homesickness training. Fostered pups often return refreshed, with updated photos, videos, and descriptions to aid their adoption marketing.
Petland also partners with registered foster-based rescue groups to place puppies into temporary homes. Groups like Indian Pups, Texas Tzu Tzu Rescue and Carolina Poodle Rescue have dedicated foster networks to help find good fits for their breed-specific pups. These programs allow longer-term Petland pups more personalized care while still getting their cute faces seen online for permanent adoption.
4. Supplementary Training Programs
Some puppies just need a little extra training to become more appealing to adopters. Petland provides in-house training services to increase adoptability for puppies slow to find a home.
Their certified trainers offer puppy kindergarten group classes that focus on key skills like:
- Potty training
- Basic obedience (sit, stay, heel)
- Crate training
- Leash walking
- Socialization with people/dogs
These classes mixed with individual training sessions help timid, rambunctious or anxious pups gain confidence. Well-trained pups appeal to adopters who want to skip the puppy stage. Showcasing new skills also boosts online adoption marketing.
For breeds requiring extra exercise like Australian Shepherds or Border Collies, Petland’s trainers provide more vigorous daily workouts. This enhances behavior and mental stimulation. Adopters looking for hiking or running partners are much more interested in a well-exercised, trained pup.
5. Transferring Puppies to Higher Demand Locations
Petland also employs a tactic commonly used in the retail industry – transferring slower-to-sell inventory to higher demand locations. If a puppy isn’t finding a home after several months in a low traction Petland, transferring them to a store with higher demand for that breed can do the trick.
The pup enjoys a change of scenery, which boosts their mood and energy. A new staff provides fresh socialization and training options. Shoppers at the new location haven’t seen that puppy online for months, so it feels like new inventory. Keeping the puppy profile updated with new photos and videos also generates renewed interest.
Transfers are coordinated at a regional level, moving puppies within a multi-state area. This reduces transport stress. And with over 150 Petland locations, there are ample options to shift puppies around to optimize each one’s chance of selling.
6. Launching Proactive Marketing Campaigns
Petland also allocates significant marketing resources to find homes for longer-term puppies in their care. Their digital marketing and social media teams actively promote adoption options across all channels.
Email blasts that spotlight certain puppies needing homes get sent to the retailer’s extensive subscriber list. Social media ads on Facebook and Instagram tout puppy discounts or adoption specials. Petland also optimizes online content and SEO to rank these puppy profiles high in local pet adoption searches.
In-store signage and displays highlight slower-to-sell puppies as “staff favorites” and older puppies as “mature for their age”. Catchy slogans like “Who Rescued Who?” and “Adopt Love” accompany puppy imagery. Petland wants shoppers to view adopting one of these special pups as an altruistic act.
The stores also invest in community outreach partnerships. They sponsor adoption fairs, provide puppy playtime at schools and senior centers, and supply adoption info packets to local vets. Getting puppy faces directly in front of potential owners via grassroots community networking helps create new opportunities to find forever homes.
7. Ensuring Ongoing Veterinary Care
As outlined above, Petland’s number one priority for unsold puppies is providing ongoing veterinary care tuned exactly to each pup’s needs. Their in-house vets and outside reference vets formulate wellness plans for longer-term residents.
Core needs like vaccinations, deworming, flea/tick prevention and heartworm medication remain on schedule per veterinary protocols. Pups also receive routine wellness exams to monitor weight, diet, energy levels, urine and stool health, skin conditions, parasites, congenital disorders, infections, and disease. Lab tests like fecal screens and blood counts help vets detect issues early.
Petland vets treat any emerging conditions with medications, fluid therapy, surgery or specialist referrals as needed. This attentive medical supervision keeps pups healthy while awaiting adoption. Documenting the care received also assures adopters of a clean bill of health.
Petland also requires sterilization, either before transfer or at 6 months old. This responsible practice prevents unwanted litter that could end up in already overburdened shelters. Overall, enduring veterinary care tailored to each pup allows Petland to demonstrate enduring responsibility.
8. Prioritizing Proper Socialization
Petland never underestimates the importance of proper socialization for puppies waiting their turn for a new home. Puppies denied socialization during prime developmental weeks are at risk for lifelong behavioral issues. Fear, anxiety, and aggression towards people or other dogs often result from undersocialization.
To prevent this, Petland staff engage unsold puppies throughout the day with petting, cuddling, lap time, brushing, and one-on-one play sessions. Puppies also participate in daily playgroups with proper dog-dog interaction supervision. This structured social time provides learning opportunities they’ll use for dog communications as adults.
Structured “people playdates” are another socialization strategy. Local senior centers and school groups are invited to interact with puppies on-site. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops can come to fulfill service requirements by brushing and walking the puppies. This community involvement delivers essential human socialization.
By making socialization an uncompromised priority, Petland gives these impressionable puppies their best chance at developing into friendly, confident, well-adjusted adult dogs, ready to thrive in an adoptive home.
9. Providing Extended Stays
Petland is prepared to provide puppies whatever length of stay needed to result in successful adoption. There are no time limits or threats of relocation to a shelter after a certain number of months. The stores accept that some pups will simply need more time.
The customer matchmaking process cannot be rushed. It takes patience and perseverance to properly introduce the right puppy to the right adopter. Petland gives fate a chance to run its course by allowing extended stays when needed.
There are occasional heartwarming tales of puppies adopted after a year or longer stay. For example, a Pennsylvania Petland had a mixed breed puppy named Fifi who ended up staying at their store for over 2 years before finding her match! Although not typical, Fifi’s story illustrates the lengths Petland will go to secure forever homes for the pets in their care.
10. Working with Rescue Groups and Shelters
The most desirable outcome for Petland puppies who don’t sell within the store’s efforts is to be adopted into a loving home. But they also recognize sometimes a retail store environment is not best suited for all pups. In these cases, Petland actively partners with third-party rescue groups.
Local breed-specific rescues are their first choice, as they have expertise in matching individual breeds with ideal owners. For example, a high-energy Border Collie would fare better rehomed through a herding breed-focused rescue. These niche rescues also have established networks and outreach that Petland lacks.
General dog rescue groups are another common partner. These rescues allow Petland pups to become available for adoption locally and prevent shipping them sight unseen across the country. Maintaining visibility and requiring in-person meet-and-greets with potential owners benefits fearful or anxious puppies.
As a last resort, accredited animal shelters are utilized. But Petland views shelters as more transitional, with unpredictable lengths of stays and adoption conditions. There is less control ensuring optimal care and attention. So shelters are a backup option, while partner rescues represent the ideal alternative caretakers.
Answers to Common Questions
What percentage of Petland puppies do not get sold?
Industry-wide statistics show about 15-20% of pet store puppies may not find immediate homes. This leaves 1-3 pups per store location needing ongoing care and adoption support. Of Petland’s 150+ locations, an estimated 150-300 puppies will not sell right away and utilize these rehoming programs annually.
Does Petland get rid of dogs that don’t sell?
No, Petland does not euthanize, abandon, or transport unsold puppies to distant shelters. Their commitment is to care for each puppy until an ideal local home is found, no matter how long that takes. Their extended stay, training, transfer, foster and rescue policies prevent dogs from being discarded.
What happens to older puppies that don’t sell?
Puppies over 4-6 months old are sterilized and transitioned into formal adoption programs. Their adult size, appearance and personalities are now evident, making it easier to match with ideal owners. Petland’s foster care, rescue and shelter partnerships also focus on rehoming these older puppies. Extended stays at their facilities are still provided as needed.
Can you negotiate the price of an unsold puppy?
Yes, Petland empowers store managers to negotiate pricing when needed to find appropriate homes for older puppies. Their priority is placing pups, not adhering to strict sales margins. One tactic used is “make an offer” sales that allow adopters to propose a price on longer-stay dogs. Special discounts also incentivize choosing one of these deserving pups.
Petland’s greatest purpose as a company is facilitating meaningful bonds between people and pets. Though their ideal is matching every pup with a loving family right away, they recognize an adjustment period is sometimes needed. For puppies that don’t immediately get purchased, Petland offers humane solutions focused on health, happiness, and eventual adoption.
With customized veterinary care, positive socialization, proactive marketing and interstate transfers, the vast majority of Petland’s unsold puppies find great homes. Partnerships with specialized rescues, shelters and adoption networks provide additional support in rehoming anydogs needing more tailored transitions.
At the end of the day, Petland feels a strong responsibility to each pup welcomed into their stores. Their commitment never wavers, regardless of the length or difficulty in securing forever homes. Utilizing these thoughtful programs gives Petland’s unsold puppies the brightest futures possible.