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Puppy Purchases - Stay Safe!


Whilst we would never advise getting a puppy or pet as a present as a pet is for life, holiday periods are prime time to get a pet as you can be home to settle them in. We also advise using a rescue as there are lots of pets stuck in rescues looking for their ideal home. If you are purchasing a pet, specifically a puppy, read our blog on staying safe when buying a dog.


Signs That You Should Avoid Purchasing A Puppy:

What you should look out for and avoid these sellers when purchasing a puppy:

  • The person may be selling the pet for a much lower rate than you have seen elsewhere.

  • The person may have multiple breeds or species also listed.

  • The pet’s parents are unable to be seen.

  • The puppy is dirty or unwell.

  • The puppy hasn't been vaccinated or microchipped with the breeder's own details.

  • To import a puppy into the UK the puppy must be at least 15 weeks old.

  • The puppy is less than 8 weeks old when they are willing to let it go to a new home. 8 weeks is the minimum age a puppy should be leaving its mum and litter mates. Before this age, the puppy may not be weaned properly and it will miss out on essential learning behaviours from its mum and litter mates.

  • The person wants to bring the puppy to your home or meet at a different location.behavior


How Can You Tell That A Puppy is Healthy?

There are some key signs to look out for that your puppy is happy and healthy:

  • Their eyes should be clear and bright (no redness or dirt).

  • The nose should be cold and slightly wet, with nostrils open wide.

  • Strong legs, with no difficulty walking.

  • They should be able to breathe quietly and effortlessly with no snoring, coughing, or other disturbed breathing patterns.

  • Shiny, soft fur with no fleas.

  • Clean ears, with no smell or signs of wax inside.

  • Clean, dry skin with no signs of soreness or folds.

  • A clean mouth with white teeth and pink healthy gums.

  • A clean and dry bottom under the tail

  • Your puppy’s ribs should not be clearly visible and they should not have a pot belly.


Make sure that your pup is friendly, active, and bright - timidness or fear can lead to behaviour issues down the line.


Scam Signs To Look Out For

The scammer themselves will probably have a few giveaways to look out for:

  • They avoid phone calls - scammers would much prefer to contact you through email or text. Make sure you have a phone call or video chat at a minimum.

  • Selling for a ‘friend’.

  • Copied descriptions and photos - scammers often copy and paste descriptions and photos from genuine listings! Google the description to see if it’s been used before, and right-click the image and select “search Google for image” to see if it’s appeared online before!

  • Asking for digital payment via anything other than Paypal or Credit Cards - payment methods outside of these offer little to no protection and are not to be trusted.

  • The person doesn’t let you view or collect the pet in their home.

  • They won’t be interested in the home the puppy is going to, so they won’t ask you questions about what you can provide or your experience.


Not only are there scam artists who’ll take your money in exchange for nothing, but there are also “puppy farmers” who continually breed puppies to sell, often in extremely bad conditions.


What Are Puppy Farmers?

Puppy Farmers hold puppies and their mums in extremely small spaces, with very little room to move, use the toilet, have a drink, or even get some daylight. Not only is this extremely unethical, but dogs are rarely vaccinated, and they have a high chance of behavioural problems due to a lack of socialisation and health problems due to the poor conditions they have been raised in.


How Do I Spot A Puppy Farmer?

You can tell that someone is a puppy farmer because:

  • They’ll have multiple adverts.

  • They’ll have advertised several litters of different breeds at the same time.

  • They mention “always having puppies available”.

  • Your puppy may have a passport and be imported.

  • They’re not on the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme.

  • The “mum” seems wary of her puppies - the chances are she’s not actually their mother.

  • The puppy in the advertisement photo isn’t the same as the ones you see when you visit them.

  • You’re not allowed to see the whole litter.


What Should I Do If I Find A Puppy Farm?

  • Walk away: if you give them your money to save just one puppy, that’s funding their cruel business.

  • Report the advert on the website you found it on.

  • Report them to the RSCPA, and to the police if you see evidence of animal cruelty.


What Should I Look Out For In A Good Seller?

While there are a lot of red flags that can indicate you’re dealing with a scammer/puppy farmer, there are also green flags to look out for! A good breeder will do the following things:


  • They’ll spend time chatting with you on the phone.

  • They will arrange a time for you to visit to meet their puppies, along with their siblings and mother.

  • They’ll arrange this visit to be in the same location as where the puppies were raised.

  • Be happy to have multiple meetings to ensure you and the puppy are comfortable with each other.

  • They will show you their Local Authority License if they’re breeding dogs for profit.

  • Provide genuine paperwork for vaccinations, worming, and any veterinary health checkup test results.

  • Provide paperwork for microchipping (this is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped by the age of 8 weeks, so if they don’t do this then it’s a sure sign that you’re dealing with a scammer).

  • The puppy ears won’t be cropped - this is a painful cosmetic practice and is illegal in the UK.

  • Your puppy will have a tail. Only working dogs (not breeds) are allowed to have cropped tails. Paperwork from the vet who cropped the dog should be provided along with the puppy.


A responsible seller won't:

  • Rush you into parting with cash in exchange for a puppy.

  • Stop you seeing the mother and other litter mates, by saying that the mother is at the vet's, asleep, or out for a walk. If mum isn't there, then the puppy wasn't bred there.

  • Offer to deliver a puppy to you or meet you somewhere random like a car park.

  • Hand the puppy over before it's 8 weeks old - it's illegal to sell them younger than that.

  • Say 'it's normal for the breed' about health issues such as snoring - all puppies should be born with the best chance of living happy, healthy lives, whatever breed they are.

  • Use Kennel Club registration (or any other registration) as a guarantee of quality or health and happiness.


We strongly recommend using the RSPCA Puppy Pack - a form where your breeder will provide you with all of the relevant information for your pup, as well as a contract for the purchase of your new furry friend. If they have an aversion to filling this out, this raises some serious red flags and you should reconsider your purchase.


Welcoming a new furry addition into your home? Be sure to book a health checkup with our team at Roundwood Vets by calling 020 8459 4729

Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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