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Buying A Pet Puppy Online?

Posted by Tom Shannon on

Pets As Holiday Gifts

As the holiday approaches, buying a pet is probably something you had thought about or plan on doing this year. To this day, buying a pet for someone is quite special. It's the one gift that keeps on giving and makes us feel loved and special. After all, who wouldn’t want to be surprised with a cute puppy dog with a red bow on its neck? The feeling you get when buying a puppy for someone hasn’t really changed. Or has it?

Puppy For Sale

How Much Is That Doggie

Traditionally, people that want a puppy would go to their local pet shop and pick up one. You give the money to the shopkeeper and take home the puppy that same day. Even the famous singer, Patti Page, have a song that promoted the tradition in the song titled, “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window”, a song she recorded in the 1950’s. For some of you who’ve never heard or seen the video, check out this YouTube video.  

It's 2018!

Let’s fast-forward to 2018! Buying a pet at the local pet store has gotten a lot less – less common and even less likely – as states across the United States have discouraged the sale of pets in pet stores.  shows a list of the states that have enacted laws that ban the sale of pets. These states are California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 

Local Pet Shelter

For a lot of people that are looking for pets, the idea of going to the local pet shelter has been well-received by the larger community – pet stores, owners and advocates alike. has an excellent database of dogs looking for homes on their website with intuitive search features that allow you to search by breed, sex, size, age, and unique qualities. Check out their website, here

Google It

If you look things up on Google, you’ll find all sorts of resources, places, and websites where you can buy a pet. Search engines like Google have made things easier to find pets. Then again it doesn’t mean that the website you looked up is legitimate either. 

In a study released by the Better Business Bureau last April 2018, they found that at least 80% of the sponsored advertising links that show up on the internet search may be fake. 80% is huge! Simply, the odds that you're getting scammed when you a buy a pet online is likely to happen than if you had looked somewhere else. has a Scam Tracker that shows you where these scams have occurred. We used their Scam Tracker to find out just how many puppy scams have occurred in the United States by typing the keyword “puppy”.

We found that from January to November of 2018, there are literally hundreds of puppy scams reported.  Below is a geographical map sampling of the puppy scams we took from  

Puppy Scams in 2018

While on the website, you can read numerous stories of people who paid hundreds and sometimes in the thousands of dollars, in hopes of buying the puppy of their dreams. Needless to say, it’s heartbreaking to find that people have lost money to these kinds of scams.

Before You Buy That Pet Online

Don’t be a victim of these scams and instead protect yourself by following these tips.

  • Always see the pet by arranging to meet with the seller.
  • Do a reverse image search of the pet you saw on the internet by going to
  • If you want to know if a pet selling website is legitimate or not, check out the website

Be Careful

In this day and age of the internet, be extra careful. If there are things that don’t seem right to you, go the other way.

If you’re looking for a particular breed of dog, find a local breeder.

If you want to rescue a dog that’s waiting for a good home, please go to your local pet shelter and adopt. Not only are you helping your local pet shelter but you're also making a difference by giving a pet a warm and loving home during the holidays. 


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