How you can help to safeguard animal welfare when finding a dog online
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How you can help to safeguard animal welfare when finding a dog online

Dogs
Life As A Pet Parent

While the traditional method of buying a new puppy historically would involve checking out pet shops, local newspaper and magazine classifieds, phoning around local breeders who advertise in directoriesand possibly looking for adverts in shop windows, today, the vast majority of people who are seeking to buy a new dog or puppy are likely to turn first to the internet, with websites such as this one designed to put buyers and sellers in touch with each other.

This means that the methods by which people buy and sell puppies have changed significantly over the last ten to fifteen years, and made it much easier for those seeking to buy or sell to find their matches. This has naturally come with a lot of advantages for both parties, and also, provided a platform for people to discuss the relative merits of various different options, but much as with anything else concerning buying and selling on the internet, some challenges have arisen as part of this as well.

Pets4Homes is the largest pet classifieds website in the UK, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We actively seek to identify and remove adverts placed by unscrupulous or unregulated professional breeders or puppy farmers, and reject a significant number of adverts every week for these very reasons. We also work with a range of animal welfare organisations and charities such as the CARIAD Campaign and PAAG in order to help to end puppy farming and questionable breeding practices, and to educate the general public by providing advice on what to look for when buying a new puppy or dog.

However, when it comes to buying online, and particularly when the life and welfare of an animal is at stake, the phrase “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware” comes to mind, and every potential puppy buyer who is searching the online adverts for that perfect pet has a responsibility too, to make sure that their purchase is the right one, both for themselves, and for animals as a whole.

In this article, we will share some tips and advice on how potential dog and puppy buyers can make responsible buying decisions when it comes to shopping on the internet, and steps that you can take to ensure that your purchase does not contribute to puppy farming, backyard breeding or other unscrupulous endeavours. Read on to learn more.

Look for patterns

So you’ve found an advert that looks just up your street-right breed, right type, right price and right place. But before you rush into arranging a visit, stop-it is worth doing a little online research to see the sort of patterns that the seller follows when it comes to their adverts and activities.

If a seller is registered with the Kennel Club and makes no secret about the fact that they are a professional breeder, this adds a level of protection for you, but if an advert seems at a glance to be a private sale of a one-off litter and yet the same advertiser or phone number is associated with a range of other adverts on the internet for dogs and puppies, question why this is not clear at the outset.

Read and Follow our Checklist Advice

On every advert on the Pets4Homes website you will notice we have a detailed buying checklist directly under the advert description, which has a checklist of advice you should read and follow before you even contact an advertiser. The advice is very important and is there to both inform you and protect you as a buyer. If you are not confident that the advertiser is following the advice we give then it is advisable that you do not buy or adopt a pet from them.

Ask lots of questions on the phone

When you make your first call to the potential puppy seller, you should ask them a lot of questions about the litter, the parent dogs, and their general breeding endeavours. The seller should be able to answer everything that you ask without any hesitation and with plenty of confidence, and be well informed and plausible in what they are saying.

Watch for warning signs

If you call a seller who says that the dog you are enquiring about is unavailable but they can offer you an alternative, find out more. Is it a pup from another litter, are they breeding on a larger scale than you first thought, and are they registered to do this?

Similarly, check on the phone that you will be visiting the dam and litter at their home and with their actual owner, and take it as a warning if you are asked to see or meet the dogs elsewhere, or if the dam will not be with them.

Assess the litter and seller carefully

When you visit the litter, you will of course want to spend plenty of time checking out the puppies themselves! But as well as this, you should also be alert and switched on about other things, and assessing the seller too as part of your visit.

The dogs should be bonded with and close to the owner and this should be evident, and if there are any signs that the dogs do not really know the owner or live there all of the time, ask why this is. Look for signs that the property is not in common use, or that there might be other dogs or litters elsewhere on the premises too.

Report any questionable adverts

If something pings your radar when you’re talking to a seller or when you visit and you think that something is just not how it seems, or you have any concerns about the welfare or wellness of the dogs that you have visited, do something about it-and this does not mean “rescue-buying” one of their puppies! Report any questionable adverts to us here at Pets4Homes using the direct link on each advert, and if necessary, contact the RSPCA and your local council licencing department too.

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