how to avoid a puppy farm

How to Avoid a Puppy Farm Pup

It’s very sad to see that so many dogs are still being mistreated and bread from puppy farms. In this short article we’re going to give you some advice on the best places to find a new puppy and how to avoid a puppy farm pup.

Safe Ways to Find Your New Puppy

There are two good avenues for finding a new dog or puppy – either adopt a rescue dog or purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder.

Rescue is a brilliant idea and a great way to provide a loving home for a pet that is down on their luck. There are 4 major outlets where you can adopt a rescue dog in the Dublin area:

  1. Dogs Angels Ireland
  2. DSPCA
  3. Dogs Trust
  4. Ash Animal Wicklow

We do quite a lot of work with Dogs Angels Ireland. Both Dogs Angles Ireland and Ash Animal are brilliant. They are smaller setups than the DSPCA and Dogs Trust, but they do fantastic work and you can find lovely pets through them.

Read about Goose the Springer Spaniel who was a rescued by Louise – one of our Stillorgan vets.

If you are looking to buy a pedigree dog, we strongly recommend contacting the Irish Kennel Club. They will be able to put you in touch with a reputable breeder, so you can be sure everything is above board.

We would strongly urge you to either adopt a rescue dog or contact the Kennel Club. However, if you are going down the route of online advertisement sites there’s a few key steps that will help you to identify a puppy farm pup or at least throw up a red flag and start the alarm bells ringing…..

How do I Identify a Puppy Farm Pup?

These 6 steps will help you quickly identify whether or not the puppy for sale is from a puppy farm:

  1. Meet Mom and Visit the Facilities
  2. Random Meeting Place
  3. Microchipped – Yes or No?
  4. Vaccinated – Yes or No?
  5. The Shop Front Strategy
  6. Walk Away

1. Meet Mom and Visit the Facilities

A reputable breeder should be more than happy for you to meet the puppies Mom and visit the house or establishment where the puppy was born.

2. Random Meeting Place

A big red flag should pop up if the person selling the puppy suggest meeting at a random petrol station or at the side of a road.

We often hear of situations where the breeder will offer to meet half way as it’s “more convenient” for you and then try to sell you the puppy from the boot of their car.

3. Microchipped – Yes or No?

It is illegal to sell a dog that is not microchipped. This law has recently been introduced as a way to try to eliminate puppy farms. The puppy should be microchipped by a qualified vet or registered technician and accompanied by the correct paperwork, to confirm the dog has been registered. It is illegal to sell a pup without a microchip.

The certificate of registration allows for a “change of ownership” details to be completed which can then be returned and the central database updated. This also give you peace of mind that the seller is the owner of the dog and has permission to sell it. The certificate will also state their name and address.

It is now a legal requirement that all dogs are microchipped once they reach 12 weeks old.

Learn more about the microchipping laws.

4. Vaccinated – Yes or No?

The seller should provide you with a vaccination cert. This will give you details on all vaccines the dog has received from its vet.

You can then bring these to your vet for review. Vaccinations are extremely important and can save the life of your pet. A recent outbreak of Canine Parvovirus killed 6 dogs in Limerick, this was sad and unnecessary – as the core vaccinations protect against this deadly disease.

5. The Shop Front Strategy

Be aware of the ‘shop front strategy’ where you arrive at a nice little cottage in the countryside where the puppy is being kept. There will be no sign of Mom and you’ll be told she has gone out for a walk.

There’s a common mis-conception that you’ll be able to spot a puppy farm because of the terrible conditions but in reality, this is not true. The harsh reality is that this is an illegal multi-million euro industry and the people involved have become very good at covering their tracks, setting the scene and making money.

6. Walk Away

If you feel the set-up isn’t right – simply walk away. The sellers strategy will be to make you feel sorry for the puppies, so you want to take them home and give them a better life. They will prey on this emotion.

One last bit of advice we have is that if you have young children – it’s best not to bring them on the day you are going to meet the puppy for the first time. If you happen to become suspicious on the visit your child may put additional pressure on you to buy the puppy and it will be harder to walk away.

What do I do if I’m Suspicious About a Puppy Farm?

If you think you have come into contact with a puppy farm, please contact the ISPCA at and they will be able to investigate the issue on your behalf. There’s plenty more good information on the ISCPA Website.  Alternatively contact your local Garda station with the information.

You and Your New Puppy

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for all the family and we know as responsible dog owners you’ll want to make the right choice. We hope you’ve got some helpful information now on the best way to find your new furry friend! Remember the steps above and you won’t go far wrong.

Once you have picked up your new puppy bring him along to our Free Puppy Check-up. Our vet’s can look at your vaccination certs and give you advice on what you need to do to make sure your puppy lives a long healthy life.

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