Dogs Trust

New puppy buying advice

Buying a dog is an exciting prospect. However, it’s really important to do a lot of background research on how to find your perfect pup.

Some online advertisers care more about money than puppy welfare and won’t think twice about duping you into buying a dog that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

Follow these steps to avoid being dogfished.

Don't be dogfished

Follow these 6 simple steps

...to avoid being dogfished.

Call ahead

Speak to the seller on the phone before visiting, and be sure to visit the puppy more than once.

Meet the pup's family

Ask to see the puppy interacting with their mum and littermates when you visit.

Check paperwork

Ask to see proof of a vet check, vaccination (where applicable), microchipping, and pedigree papers, if relevant.

Talk to the seller

Expect to be asked lots of questions by the seller (and if not, question why not).

Take your time

Take time to think and walk away if things don’t feel right.

Report suspicions

If you suspect a seller is acting illegally, report them to Trading Standards.

Dogfish alert!

If you suspect a seller is acting suspiciously, or if you think your puppy may have been illegally imported, please report them to Trading Standards.

Report now

Puppy smuggling facts

fact 1

There has been a 260% increase in dogs being imported into the UK since pet travel rules were relaxed in 2012.

fact 2

Some puppy smugglers can make more than £100,000 in a year.

fact 3

We have rescued and rehomed more than 1,000 smuggled puppies since 2015 when our Puppy Pilot scheme began.

Rehome one of our dogs

Rehome one of our dogs

At this time of year, sadly, we have thousands of calls from people wanting to give up their dog after the Christmas rush. So instead of buying a new puppy and risking being dogfished, why not consider welcoming a Dogs Trust dog into your home instead?

> Find out more about rehoming

Don't be dogfished

Concerned about your new puppy?

> Take our new owner quiz

Want to know more about the issue?

> Find out more about puppy smuggling

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