Buying a puppy? Know the risks.

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Puppy ad


Buying a puppy? Know the risks.

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Sick puppy


Buying a puppy? Know the risks.

Read more

Cute. Quick. Sick.

Today the way we shop is fast – we see something online, click a button, have it delivered and own it instantly. But buying a dog should never be done quickly. Many of the puppies advertised online come from cruel puppy farms – bred in poor conditions and taken from their mothers far too young. An impulse buy can lead to owning a sick puppy, heartache, and unexpected expenses.

Take the Puppy Pledge to not buy a puppy from puppy farms.

Doing the right research and asking the right questions can help you avoid the risks of the cruel puppy trade in Australia. Here you can find the information and resources you need to acquire a puppy responsibly.

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Receive your free puppy buying guide here

Health Risk

Puppies bought from puppy farmers can suffer from various diseases including canine distemper, parvovirus, kennel cough, leptospirosis for example. Many of the diseases can be prevented through vaccinations, good hygiene and proper upbringing, but due to the nature of the puppy trade where puppies are bred in poor conditions in puppy farms, there is a risk that some of the puppies may have contracted these diseases. Later in life they may also suffer from behavioural problems due to poor socialisation.

Emotional Risk

Many puppies from the puppy trade are sick or even worse, die. Heart-broken owners may find it very hard to recover from the experience of having a helpless pup, who they have bonded with, die in their arms, unable to do anything about it. This could also have an emotional impact on children who have bonded with their new pet only to see them suffering and not returning from the vets.

Financial Risk

If you unknowingly purchase a puppy without the proper vaccines, deworming regime and socialisation in their first months, you may have expensive veterinary costs. Veterinary care may be needed to either treat an illness or to treat ongoing medical problems caused by poor breeding practices and genetic disorders. Later, you may also have to pay for behavioural training or therapy if your puppy develops behavioural problems due to a lack of socialisation earlier in life.

Legal & Fraud Risk

The increased demand for puppies have also brought an increase of puppy scammers. Not only that, puppies bought from dodgy puppy farmers often come with fraudulent papers. This includes false vaccination certificates, microchip details, and even falsified photos. This is done to hide the true origin of the puppy and the identity of the seller. With thousands of animals advertised online on any given day, this is a major industry with little to no animal welfare regulation.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Puppy

Looking for the right puppy can be a difficult task, especially with all the fraudulent practices that unscrupulous puppy farmers have at hand. Here is what you need to know:

Puppies in cages

The Puppy Trade in Australia

 The dirty and cruel business of treating dogs like a "commodity"


FOUR PAWS Tips to avoid puppy farming scams

With thousands of animals advertised online on any given day, this is a major industry with little to no animal welfare regulation.


How to Find a Responsible Breeder

Thinking about buying a puppy? Follow these steps! 

Woman doing online research

What You Need to Know About Online Puppy Sellers

The most common tricks to avoid when looking for a puppy

Dog mother with puppies

Unscrupulous versus Responsible Puppy Breeders

The key differences that can help guide your search


Questions to Ask When Buying a Puppy

Simply asking the right questions can be the best way to avoid the risks of the unscrupulous puppy trade  


Victim stories

Chico's story


Absolutely heartbroken 

Chico lived in Laura’s loving home for less than a day. Read the full story.


Bella's story


Gone too soon

Bella's owners world fell apart when the beloved new puppy got sick immediately after they picked her up. Read the full story.


Poppy's story


8 months of turmoil

Christine and Poppy fought long and hard for her survival, after unknowingly buying her from an unscrupulous dealer. Read the full story.


Maxi & Freddy’s story


Fighting for their lives

Elina suffered heartbreak not once, but twice with her puppies Maxi and Freddy. Here she tells us of the emotional rollercoaster and her ongoing journey. Get to know her story.


Reggie's story


Instantly unwell

Reggie was bought on one of the UK’s most reputable classified ad sites, but within hours of joining his new family he became seriously ill. Find out the whole story. 



Don't let puppy farmers trick you

Download the Cute. Quick. Sick. puppy buying guide and follow the steps

Get your free guide here

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