If you buy a pet dog or cat, it’s important that you make checks to help combat the illegal trade in pet animals.
Do not buy a cat or dog from unknown sources – it’s important that you know where it comes from and where it was born.
Trade in illegally imported cats and dogs
Some dogs and cats for sale in the UK have been imported illegally from abroad. This puts the health and welfare of the animals and the general public at risk.
Dogs and cats that are illegally imported for sale or rehoming may be:
- carrying serious diseases that could spread to other pets or people
- too young for import
- transported in inadequate conditions
- at risk of behavioural and welfare issues due to poor breeding and rehoming
- without the necessary health preparations for import
- advertised in a way that misleads the buyer on the animal’s history, breed or pedigree
If you find that your new pet has been imported illegally, you may have to pay for costly quarantine and veterinary bills.
Buying a cat or dog guidelines
Follow these guidelines to make sure you help combat the illegal trade in pet animals. If you plan to buy a cat or dog:
- consider getting a rescue animal from a reputable UK rehoming organisation – you can check if the organisation is a member of the Association of Dogs and Cat Homes
- buy your animal from a reputable supplier such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder – advice is available from the Dog Advisory Council, Dogs Trust, Kennel Club, PAAG and RSPCA
- view the animal and its documentation before you buy – if it was born outside the UK it must have either a pet passport or a veterinary certificate
- ask to see the local authority licence details for commercial dog breeders
- licensed dog breeders must show puppies with their mothers to prospective buyers
- speak to your vet, if you have any doubts about an animal
Buying a puppy or a kitten
If you plan to buy a puppy or kitten:
- use the puppy contract or the kitten checklist
- read the RSPCA and Animal Welfare Foundation information
- always see the puppy or kitten with its mother and any litter, and if possible, in the location it was born
- never buy a puppy or kitten younger than 8 weeks old
Contact your Local Authority Trading Standards if you’re concerned:
- about the health or welfare of dogs and cats advertised for sale
- you may have bought an illegally imported pet