When you buy a pet, it’s important to check for certain things. This is to help fight against illegal trade in pet animals, but also to protect your consumer rights.

It is worth thinking carefully about where you buy a pet.

Buying from a pet shop

If you buy a pet from a pet shop, you have the same consumer rights as buying any item or product. You should be able to get a refund or a replacement pet from the shop if your pet gets ill or dies soon after you bought it.

If you have to take your pet to the vet soon after buying it, you should ask the shop to cover the cost of the vet’s fees.

Buying from a private seller

If you buy from a private seller, you have fewer rights than buying from a shop. But the goods you bought must match the description the seller gave you. When buying from a private seller you should ask if the pet is healthy. You might have a right to a refund if you have to take the pet to the vet soon after buying it.

The seller must accurately describe the animal. They cannot misrepresent the breed of a pet or lie about what vaccinations being up to date.

When buying a pet from a private seller you should:

  • ask the seller to sign a ‘puppy contract’, a detailed description of the health and history of the puppy
  • pay by credit card if possible
  • avoid buying from a puppy farm
  • ask about the health and background of the animal
  • make a note of everything you are told.

When you get a pet home

Once you have taken a pet home you should make an appointment with a vet. They will scan the pet for a microchip, examine the pet for fleas and worms and check the physical health in general.