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Is It Safe to Buy a Puppy Online? Read This First

Updated: Feb 25

You're looking to get a new puppy and want to do it as soon as possible. The good news is you can order a cute bundle of fur from a number of online doggie businesses in a matter of days.

You've read the reviews, are familiar with the shop or breeder, and are prepared to add that cute dog to your basket and check out. But, wait!

is it safe to buy a puppy online

Several crucial factors about your internet puppy purchase need to be taken into account before you make your final choice. You should consider several variables before deciding whether or not to buy a dog online.

Take these five steps to improve your chances of a safe, happy addition to the family.

1. Check if the Breeder is Reputable

Investigate the breeder first. When it comes to purchasing an animal, the reputation of the breeder is crucial.

Determine their location and confirm that they have a large number of recommendations from former clients. Inquire as to whether the breeder has undergone inspection by the USDA or another authority that regulates pet ownership and breeding practices.

Speaking of questions… A great breeder won’t be afraid of them. They’ll need to be willing to answer any and all serious inquiries. From FAQs to puppy or business-specific items, if your chosen breeder seems shifty or unwilling to help you, that’s a red flag.

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The well-being of their animals is what a respected breeder is most concerned about, and they consistently receive positive feedback. Puppy transactions are also carried out with trustworthy breeders to guarantee the satisfaction of the buyer and puppy.

It's ideal to work with breeders you already know about via recommendations from friends, coworkers, neighborhood vets or family members. As an alternative, you can use the AKC website or another similar agency to verify the legality of breeders.

Your chances of falling victim to fraud significantly rise if you choose to purchase a puppy from an arbitrary breeder you stumble upon online.

2. Be Aware of Fraudulent Transactions Online

There are so many variables when buying anything online. Anything you purchase - from toothbrushes to cars - could be from someone trying to take advantage of you and your goodwill.

When working with people remotely, use caution before disclosing sensitive information, especially bank account details.

Always verify their website's legitimacy to prevent falling victim to exploitation. If you enter your information into their website, make sure they have a SSL certificate, meaning their domain starts with https.

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3. What to Look for on their Site

Legitimate puppy-selling websites may be hard to discern from a fake or scammy one. These merchants of misinformation will use various schemes and other cunning methods to trick you into buying a puppy that isn't what you expected.

There should be recent, up to date photos of the puppy your want to buy. Definitely ask for facetime or video verification.

Find out about shipping costs too! This is crucial since traveling with pets could result in illness or death if managed improperly. Verify that the supplier offers live animal shipment, which could include climate control and emergency care for any bruising or injuries sustained during transit.

This is not Amazon Prime. You will get what you pay for. If shipping costs seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Luckily, the internet can be a force for good. From American Kennel Club (AKC) to International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA), there are groups out there that have updated information on specific scams currently in play throughout the web.

4. Common Red Flags

We all have those healthy voices inside of our heads. We have that feeling in our gut. Don’t ignore those things when it comes to big purchases that cost time and money.

A few things to watch for when purchasing a puppy:

  • The breeder refuses to provide you with information about former owners of the same breed or won't let you see the facility where the pups are being raised.

  • The breeder demands upfront payment in full

  • Without any assurances regarding its health or genetic tests, the dog is being delivered from another nation

  • The breeder doesn't have a website of its own. They are making use of websites called puppy brokerages.

If you get a feeling from your head to your toes saying that buying this specific puppy from this specific breeder or online salesperson isn’t right, walk away. You and the puppy will be better for it.

5. Get a Contract When Buying Your Puppy Online

Puppy contracts may be used to help you simplify your expectations, but they work best as a tool to codify the agreement between the buyer and seller. Before making any transaction, it's ideal to have at least a basic agreement or contract in place.

There could be one singular contract to cover all aspects of you buying your new dog. Or it could be broken up into different contracts to cover each and every item. For example, you could have one for the puppy’s health guarantees another for deposits & another for breeder contracts.

A contract isn’t a guarantee that something won’t happen. But it could be the difference between knowing what happens in certain instances and being robbed by those that are less than honest.

When determining whether or not purchasing a puppy from an internet vendor is safe for you and your future pet, it's crucial that you take your time and conduct thorough research.

Jenna and the JLDD Team

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