How to Not Get Scammed When Buying a Dog

How to Not Get Scammed When Buying a Dog
January 5, 2019

When it comes to buying a dog even for those who have done it time and time before it’s always worth knowing the risks which come with purchasing your new family member and always knowing the right questions to ask. What are their exact breed specifications? How old are they? Do they have a good and healthy breed pedigree? Have they had their shots? And perhaps the most important question of all, can we see the dog?

Whilst parting with cash and welcoming a new addition into your home shouldn’t really be seen as an investment, by large it is. You’re handing over money for a dog that you plan on spending years taking care of. If you end up buying a dog with underlying health problems the financial consequences of buying a sick dog are astronomical. The vet’s costs can be enough to cripple a family financially.

So, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to ensuring that you always get what you pay for. Buying problems are sadly more common than you’d like to believe. Always ensure that you are minimizing the risks.

Only Buy Registered Pedigree Dogs

 There are numerous different organizations which a breeder to register with, yet there are only a few which you can be assured through the association with the breeder, the biggest are: European "Fédération cynologique internationale" - FCI and "American Kennel Club"  - AKC
Buying from a registered breeder will limit the chances of you buying a puppy with long-term health conditions as well as reducing the risk of you being mis-sold on the breed. But no matter where you purchase a dog from, you should always be armed with a thorough list of questions before sending money to the dog breeder.

Ask the Right Questions 

  • Ensure that the dog breeder (kennel) bred the puppies themselves.
  • Ask to meet the puppy’s parents. After seeing them, you’ll also want to inquire about their age, history of health problems and lineage. Don’t be afraid to ask about the tests and health checks which were made on the dog’s parents and grandparents. Some dogs simply aren’t fit for breeding. If they are, the breeder may be able to provide you with documentation to prove that they are.
  • Ask if the puppies appear on both the father’s and mother’s side of the pedigree. If the answer is yes, you run the risk of purchasing an inbred pup.
  • Which vaccinations has the puppy received? You’ll also need details of vaccinations and registrations to any kennel clubs.
  • If the breeder has been to the vet with the puppy for any reason, ask for evidence.
  • To ensure that your new puppy will successfully integrate into your new home, always ask how much they have been socialized from birth. If you have children or other animals in your home, always ask if the puppy has had any adverse behavior around them.

This amount of questions may extend the buying process, however, any breeder who isn’t prepared to answer them isn’t a breeder that you’ll want to take a pet from. The answers should reassure you that your new pet will have a long and healthy lifespan.

Once you’ve run through the questions and you’re happy with the answers, make sure you take note of them and take the answers to your vet to see if he can validate the claims made by the breeder. This will provide you with even more reassurance.

Know the Common Genetic Disorders of a dog              

Common genetic disorders will vary depending on which breed you are looking to buy. You should always make sure that you’re well informed before you even consider purchasing a certain breed. You can read all about the common health conditions of breed types over on our breed pages.

Over recent years, there has been a significant rise in health issues for pedigree dogs, especially with breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs with their breathing problems due to the shape of their skull. Many vets now categorically advise against the breeding and ownership of brachycephalic dogs, however, they still remain some of the most desirable breeds around the world.

However, poorly bred puppies from all breeds can suffer genetic-based health problems and diseases. Or, even more concerning is the issues with socialization which some dogs have. Whilst there are no ‘evil’ breeds, some dogs may be better in a social capacity than others. This is particularly true if that animal hasn’t been sufficiently socialized prior to purchase. You’ll also want to take note of how the puppy interacts with its mother and other puppies if possible.

The symptoms of genetic orders are hard to spot for the untrained eye and due to the health problems usually manifesting when the dog reaches middle age this makes it even harder to ensure that you end up with a healthy and happy puppy. For example, did you know that approximately 50% of flat coated Retrievers develop terminal cancer by the age of eight? 

It is simply not enough to give the puppy a once over to ensure that it isn’t too skinny or its coat looks a little dull. This is why it is vitally crucial that you ensure you know the risks of breed-specific health problems. 

You can always consult your veterinary practice for advice and guidance when choosing the right dog for you as well as searching for your own information online. However, by telling your vet your circumstances, they will be able to advise which pet is best suited to you. 

Check the Reputation of the Breeder

 All reputable breeders should be registered to a kennel club of his country. You can do a lot more harm than just purchasing a black-market pup when you make a purchase from an un-reputable breeder. You may be funding a cruel puppy trade.

Any good breeder will be happy to spend time chatting to you and accommodate all of your requests to meet the puppies and their parents. You don’t have to make your decision on the first meeting. If you would like to go away and discuss anything with your vet first, or simply just have time to mull it over, the breeder should be happy to facilitate you.

Remember that it isn’t just you that should be asking the questions. A reputable breeder will want to ask you questions too to ensure that the puppy will be going to a good home and their needs will be well-catered for.

Reputable breeders should always:

  • Provide genuine certificates and paperwork
  • Meet you at the birthplace of the puppies and allow you to see the mother
  • Never shrug off warnings of health issues such as lack of appetite or shorting
  • Have all the information on hand for the lineage of the breed.

However, you should always be willing to do your research on the breeders. Enquire how long they have been breeding the specific breed, look online for any recommendations. Most breeders will now have profiles on Facebook or other social media platforms. Always ensure that you have thoroughly checked into the breeder’s background. Googling their name or asking for advice from trusted dog buyers is highly advised when buying from someone you are not familiar with.

Remember, that anyone on the internet can fake reviews and testimonials from previous clients and customers. You’ll need to seek out impartial advice.

 Tips on Parting with Your Money and Making a Deposit

  • Once you have done your research and have been assured that the dog is the right pet for you and your family. It’s time to consider how you will be handing over the money.
  • Never part with any money until you have seen the puppy and ensured all of the questions above have been sufficiently answered.
  • If you’re placing a holding deposit on the puppy, always ensure that you keep to the terms on the deposit.
  • Always ensure that you have written evidence of the terms of the purchase.

Use a reputable money transfer website such as PayPal , SEPA bank trasnfer and etc