How to buy a puppy safely
The trade in puppies has become a lucrative business, which has seen many people ripped off by puppy scammers. Here’s how to buy a puppy safely.
Your legal rights when buying a puppy
Your rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 when buying a puppy depend on:
This is the same law that covers purchases for household items such as a fridge or a television. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to determine if a puppy is of ‘satisfactory quality’ and’ fit for purpose’ as it is a fridge or a television. This is why many puppy buyers find themselves out of pocket and, sadly, in many cases with a sick or dead puppy.
How to protect yourself
There are a number of ways to protect yourself and buy a puppy safely:
Read this helpful guide by Which? It explains your consumer rights when buying a pet.
Common scams when buying a puppy
Rogue puppy traders rely on the ‘cute’ appeal of puppies to lure their buyers. They know how hard it is to resist a puppy and will do whatever it takes to get you to part with your money. Here’s some of the tricks that rogue traders and puppy scammers may use:
Watch this short UK government film on how to buy a pet safely and avoid being ‘petfished’.
You can protect yourself by always seeing a puppy with its mother in the place where it was born. Only pay money for a puppy in person and once you have seen the puppy, and use the Puppy Contract.
Warning signs when buying a puppy
You should not buy a puppy from a seller if:
Look for a puppy that has clear, bright eyes and clean ears that don’t smell. They should have clean teeth and pink gums, soft shiny fur, a clean bottom and no sign of fleas. Avoid puppies with pot-bellies. This is a sign that they have worms. Your perfect puppy will be confident and interested in you and what’s going on around them, not shy and anxious.
- Read more about how to pick the right puppy from a litter.