How To Help Avoid Being Puppy Scammed

Puppy scammers prey on your emotions and push you to buy. Don't hand over your cash and report dodgy dealings

Nothing tugs on the heart strings like cute baby animals, and puppies are sure to melt even the iciest of hearts.


Considering that some breeds can fetch upward of $4,000, puppy scamming can be an incredibly lucrative enterprise.

Puppy scammers mostly go for purebreds, not just because they can be some of the cutest pups, but also because they usually carry a bigger price tag.


Scammers use Google too

Are photos of the seller’s litter looking a bit more professional than expected?

Try a reverse image search.

If you’re using Google Chrome, simply right-click on the picture and select ‘search Google for image’. Scammers will regularly use stock Google images or even photos from legitimate, unaffiliated kennels when looking to create a fake listing.


Be mindful of the oldest tricks in the book

Ever heard a salesman say “I only have one left” or “I have lots of other interested buyers, so you better act now”?

Questions like these are designed to pressure you into making a decision without taking the time to think things through.

While it’s common for puppies to sell quickly and sellers to list with a ‘first come, first served’ disclaimer, don’t hand over any cash until you’re satisfied the person you are dealing with is legit.


Take the time and do your homework plus ask questions

Can I visit the facilities where you breed and house your dogs? Or can we video call? If the answer is "no," run away!

How long have you been breeding dogs? How long have you bred this specific dog breed? What genetic issues do you test the adult dogs for before breeding? Ask to SEE the results! What tests do the puppies get before you sell them? Research the breed and find out what tests are recommended. If this breeder has not tested the dogs, you should look for another breeder. Get advice from your vet.

Can I meet the litter of puppies and their mother? If the answer is no walk away. Note that it is not unusual for the father to be offsite.

Can I see the breed registration papers for the puppies and their parents? If the breeder cannot produce these, you should leave without buying a puppy.

Can I see the veterinary records of the puppies and their parents? If the breeder cannot produce these, walk away. If the breeder has the records, but the puppies have not been vaccinated or dewormed, walk away. The puppies get their first vaccine between 6-8 weeks of age.

What happens if my dog is diagnosed with a hereditary disease? Does the puppy I buy come with a guarantee? The answer should be that the breeder will take back the dog, and/or refund all or part of the fee you paid for the dog, and/or work with you to have the dog treated (if you want to keep the dog). A good breeder wants to know if the puppies remain in good health.

Can you provide references from the owners of puppies from previous litters? If no, ask why not.

Ask for the breeder’s kennel name and business name. Here in New Zealand you are covered by the consumer guarantee act if you purchase off a breeder that is a registered company.

Internet banking gives you proof of purchase and doing correspondence via email gives you a record of what you both have agreed to.




Getting a puppy is a big commitment financially and emotionally, one which will have

significant impact on your life.


This is not a decision that should be rushed, so be sure to take your time and ask yourself if you are ready for the responsibility of owning a pup.


At the end of the day, if you aren’t comfortable, hang on to your cash. If you think you’ve got a scammer on your hands.



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