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Getting a Puppy

Are you in the market for a puppy?

Are you looking for that specific breed? Have you looked into shelter animals and maybe decided that that is not for you?


FOUR PAWS has created this handy checklist in order to protect YOU, as well as the puppies.


Abiding by this list will ensure that you are doing everything you can to make sure your dog was bred responsibly (in small litters, infrequently as possible, not inbred, etc), was taken care of during the important early stages of development and allowed to bond with the mother (puppies should not be taken away from their mother until 8 weeks, at the very earliest), and that you are also giving your business to responsible, caring breeders and dog owners. 


The power of adoption


When welcoming a new companion animal into your life, choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group not only saves the life of that animal, but also positively contributes to the ongoing fight against animal overpopulation and homelessness. Thousands of wonderful animals, including purebred dogs and cats, are brought to shelters daily not because of something they have done, but because their owners are moving, sick, passed away, having a baby, etc. leaving these once beloved pets in desperate need of a new forever home. This is where the power and beauty of adoption comes into play, by altering not just the owner’s life for the better, but by also providing a safe haven and second chance in life for a deserving animal in need. That’s why FOUR PAWS always recommends adopting an animal rather than buying one.


Sadly, millions of healthy animals continue to be killed in shelters each year, while unscrupulous breeders–often referred to as puppy mills–churn out thousands of new puppies every day. These are the types of puppies (and kittens) typically available for sale at pet stores, however, it’s becoming even more common for people to buy pets online via classified ad websites.


Buyer beware

No matter if you are seeking a puppy, kitten, rabbit, horse, or exotic pet, the worldwide online trade of animals is booming. Some websites have as many as 200,000 advertisements featuring pets for sale online at any one time, with over 4 million viewers. Unfortunately, poor regulations have allowed many classified ad websites to become a haven for deception and animal suffering; many ads even offer banned species, endangered species, and illegally imported animals for sale. This is a major problem and many websites fail to meet any humane standards for protecting animals sold online, as well as hurting buyers. As a result, millions of animals suffer and people looking for a pet online could end up with a sick, dangerous, or even illegal animal.  


For example, fake photos of happy looking puppies and false assurances given by puppy mill breeders dupe many well-intentioned owners into buying puppies that are sick, have genetic defects, and behavioral issues. This can cost new owners thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and immense heartbreak for the poor dogs obtained from the terrible housing conditions. Because of this, we strongly recommend not to buy pets via social media sites such as Facebook and other online forums, like Craigslist or NextDayPets.


There are puppies in shelters who desperately need a loving home. However, if you’re determined to buy, please follow our checklist to make sure you don’t accidentally buy a puppy mill puppy and by doing so, unwittingly support inhumane breeders.

Before you buy

You should always meet the seller in person and get their contact details, plus never agree to home delivery or delivery to any public place. Always meet the seller at their home, meet and spend time with the specific animal you are interested in and learn about its care needs from the seller, ask to see the mother of the puppies or kittens, and request all relevant documentation including microchip and registration details, vet check papers, as well as vaccination information. Ensure that you receive either a purchase contract or a receipt.


If the seller puts pressure on you to take the animal immediately, refuse to do so. A reputable seller or breeder will give you time to think about your decision, and will allow you to get to know the animal before you agree to purchase said puppy or kitten.


Click here to download a copy of our guide