Buying a puppy

A puppy can be the perfect pet - if you're ready for the walking, training, playing, food bills, vet costs, insurance and more.

Read our tips below...

Start with research

Think about the breed of puppy you would like, and make sure it’s a good fit for your lifestyle. Do some research and see if your favourite breed will adapt to your way of life.

Puppies need to stretch their legs. Plus, they crave company. Some breeds need more attention than others, but all puppies will need your time and care. So check you have the right environment - and that your lifestyle fits what they need from you.

The true cost of owning a puppy

Although puppies start small, they grow into dogs! Owning a dog can cost as much as £31,000? That includes a lifetime of food, chews, toys and treats but excludes veterinary costs. So if your pet becomes sick or injured this average cost could be even higher. Can you afford the lifetime costs of owning a dog?

Look for a happy and healthy puppy

First, puppies should be at least eight weeks old, and ideally 12 weeks old before they leave their mother. Ask the owner whether they bred the puppy, and if the puppies or parents have had health problems. Also, find out how many puppies were in the litter.

Always meet Mum, and if possible the brothers and sisters, to see if they're healthy and happy. If the mother is not available to be seen, this is a clear warning sign of an unscrupulous seller. If in doubt, walk away and report the seller to Gumtree or directly to the RSPCA.

Home visits

When you visit a puppy, take your time, ask lots of questions and trust your instincts. If you can, visit at least twice to see how you get on together. Ask about his or her health and history, and make sure the owner sounds true and honest. Always ask for a copy of its medical records, including vaccination certificate and records of worming and flea treatment. For pedigree puppies, ensure that Kennel Club registration papers and the parents' hereditary disease screening certificates, where appropriate, are in order.

The illegal importation of puppies from Eastern Europe to be sold on advertising sites is a real issue in the UK. Puppies suffer horrendous journeys causing them to feel very unwell. You can also face a large quarantine bill. If your chosen puppy does not originate from the place of purchase, ask where it came from and try to obtain its previous history. If the breeder will not let you visit their home or does not let you see the puppy with its mother, it might be a puppy smuggled into the country. Don't rescue-buy it. Simply report the advert to Gumtree or directly to the trading standards.

Pet passports

If you are looking at a puppy to buy which is advertised as under 15 weeks and comes with a pet passport, walk away. Puppies must be above 15 weeks to obtain a passport, and the only reason a puppy would need one is if it has been imported. Puppies do not come with a passport if they have been bred in the UK. If you see an advert for a puppy with a pet passport, please do not buy the puppy and report the advert to Gumtree. We will take down the advert and pass on the seller details to trading standards.

Microchip your dog

It is a now a legal requirement in England and Scotland that all dogs over eight weeks be microchipped and the owner's details must be kept up-to-date, as from 6th April 2016. Ensure that you comply with the law and that your puppy has a microchip before you post an advert on Gumtree.

Cross breed or pure breed?

If you're buying a pedigree puppy, you'll have a good idea what your dog will look like when they're an adult. Some breeds, however, suffer from health and welfare problems. And this can give them an unhappy life. So do your research. And choose a breeder who can give you proof that your puppy should grow into a healthy adult.

Consider purchasing from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. If you see an advert from an “Accredited” breeder on Gumtree, it is strongly advised that you check with the Kennel Club that the breeder is a Kennel Club Assured Breeder before purchasing the puppy. If you have any concerns relating to an advert about a KC registered puppy you should contact 0870 606 6750.


Before you buy a puppy, please consider contacting your local animal rescue centre. There are thousands of healthy, loving dogs and puppies all over the UK who need a new home.

Further information

Download the free RSPCA Puppy Information Pack for advice to help you avoid the problems that can arise from buying a puppy from an irresponsible breeder.

Our Partners

At Gumtree we take animal welfare very seriously.

We work with a number of animal welfare charities, including the RSPCA, and we are an active member of the Pets Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG). PAAG is made up of animal welfare groups, vets and online classified sites, all working together to promote responsible pet advertising. Our shared goal is that all animals advertised for sale online are advertised legally and ethically.

For more information on PAAG or advice on buying a pet online, you can visit their site:

A fresh start in life

There are thousands of wonderful animals in the UK looking for a new start. A number of charities advertise these pets on Gumtree, but you can also visit PAAG member sites directly.