Looking to buy a dog or cat? Make sure you do your research! There is tons of good advice and information available out there, from breed guides to pet needs, buying tips and more. It can be quite overwhelming. That’s why, together with some of our partners, we created this easy to follow checklist with advice on how to buy cats and dogs online safely…
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes at The Friday-Ad to make buying pets online safer for buyers and pets alike. We check all of our pet ads manually to prevent fraudulent or ‘petfishing’ ads from appearing on our site. And we actively work with charities, enforcement agencies and other selling sites to help educate buyers and crack down on illegal breeders.
This checklist is based on years of our own experience and issues we have come across when working with our partners, as well as advice from industry regulators such as the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG).  

Our advice on how to buy cats and dogs online safely:

1. Be Picky
Choose a trusted local breeder or pet marketplace. Read descriptions carefully, contact the seller and ask lots of questions. 
 
2. Mum& Home
If it’s a young animal (less than 6 months old), by law you MUST see them with their mum. Be sure to see them interact. We also always recommend that you see an animal in their home. Check for signs of it being a genuine lived-in home, and don’t meet sellers outside of the home. 
 
3. Minimum Age
To be sold and separated from their mum, by law puppies MUST be at least 8 weeks old and microchipped. Kittens should be at least 9 weeks old before leaving mum, and should be microchipped from around 12 weeks old.
 
4. Health Check
Does the animal look healthy and alert, does it have a shiny coat? Ask to see and check the vaccination record. Call the listed vet to verify the vaccination record and if possible the breeder/seller too.
 
5. Head over Heart
Don’t buy a pet on emotion. Fraudsters will tug on your heart strings to get you to make a purchase against your better judgement. You may even feel compelled to “save” an animal from an unsuitable environment, but by doing so you will likely condemn many more to the same fate.
If you come across illegal, fraudulent or unscrupulous sellers – report them, don’t support them!
 
6. Payment & Paperwork
Never send a deposit for an animal you haven’t seen! Ask and be prepared to sign a formal contract with the seller. You can find useful information and download a template contract at puppycontract.org.uk. Only use safe payment methods to avoid getting stung.
 
If any of the above give you cause for concern, walk away!

Useful Resources:

For detailed advice on how to buy a pet visit howtobuyapet.org.uk

How to report pet crime – suspicious ads, sellers and animal welfare concerns

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