How To Avoid Buying a Pretend Puppy

Our crazy dog Harley is such an important part of our family. He holidays with us, eats with us and has even been sprung sleeping on the boys’ beds! Shocking, I know!

Harley was a spontaneous purchase from a local pet shop about 5 years ago, however the ‘times they are a-changin’. Many families now find their pets online. In fact there are hundreds of credible websites and forums dedicated to matching breeder with pining families.

And whilst this can be a great way of finding your children a pet, it can also be a risky strategy. SCAMWatch, an initiative of the Australian Government designed to educate consumers about avoiding scams, has recently reported an increase in the number of scams involving puppies.

The scams involve ads for non-existent puppies being placed in online classifieds and newspapers at unusually low prices. Interested buyers are provided with adorable picture (that tug very hard on the heartstrings!!) and are then tricked into paying upfront for transport, customs or medical costs before the dog can be delivered. Once the payment has been made, the seller (and adorable puppy) vanish.

So how can you avoid buying a pretend puppy?

  • Remember the old adage – ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!’
  • Don’t assume that an ad is legit just because it appears on a well-known website. Scammers love these sites!
  • Avoid upfront payment and question sellers who insist on using a particular form of payment. DO NOT WIRE MONEY!!
  • Deal with local sellers if possible.
  • If in doubt, seek advice from someone ‘in the know’ – vet, pet shop or a breeder association.

But before you take the leap into puppy parenting, I would strongly advise investing in a few key items: a baby gate (so the dog doesn’t take over the house), some earplugs (handy when the barking won’t stop) and some piddle pads – worth every cent!


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