Thinking of getting a puppy? Make sure you know where your puppy comes from.

Buying a puppy is not as simple as you may think. Sadly, not all puppy breeders and sellers are reputable.

There is a dark side to the trade - puppy trafficking. This is where puppies are bred in large numbers for profit, often with little regard for animal welfare. Many puppies fall sick, and some die.


A new poll commissioned by the RSPCA reveals that a quarter of people questioned would still consider getting a puppy from a pet shop – despite 81 per cent saying it is important to see a puppy with its mother.

With an increase in calls received by the RSPCA and the public watchdog Consumer Direct about sick and dying puppies, we’re concerned that people are not taking notice of warnings about puppy trafficking.

Puppies bred on puppy farms, often outside of the UK, are sold to unsuspecting members of the public via some pet shops, the internet and newspaper advertisements. 

Do your homework

  • Avoid falling foul of the puppy traffickers by making sure you

  • Always see a puppy with its mother in the place where it was bred.

  • Get as much information as possible about where the puppy has come from, and beware if the breeder is from outside the UK.

  • Check vaccination records carefully and ask to see the vaccination card – beware 
that vaccination cards are easy to fake - if the veterinary surgeon's contact details are not visible, or has an address from outside the UK, the card may be fake.

  • Bear in mind that pedigree certificates are not a guarantee for the condition of your puppy, and may not even mean you are being sold a pure-bred dog.

  • Don't ever buy from someone who offers to deliver your puppy, or who arranges to meet you somewhere.

  • Never buy a puppy just because you feel sorry for it. If you are concerned about the health or welfare of a puppy, please contact the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty and advice line: 0300 1234 999.

If you have concerns about the way your puppy has been sold, visit Consumer Direct who will be able to give you advice and, where appropriate, pass details on to your local Trading Standards Service for investigation.