I Have Bought a Sick Puppy. What Are My Options?

Blog: I Have Bought a Sick Puppy. What Are My Options?

Purchasing a puppy is often a joyful experience filled with excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, for some, this joy can quickly turn to distress if the puppy turns out to be sick.

If you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation, especially if you suspect the puppy came from a puppy farming ring, it’s crucial to know your rights and the steps you can take.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through this challenging situation.

Understanding the Issue

Puppy farming is an unscrupulous practice where dogs are bred in high volumes, often in poor conditions, with little regard for their health or well-being. These operations prioritise profit over the welfare of the animals, leading to puppies that are often sick, malnourished, and poorly socialised.

If you suspect you’ve purchased a puppy from such a source, it’s essential to act quickly.

Your Rights as a Consumer

In the UK, the law is on your side when it comes to buying pets. According to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a puppy must be as described, of satisfactory quality, and fit for purpose. If your new puppy becomes ill shortly after purchase, you have several options:

  1. Return the Puppy for a Full Refund: If the puppy becomes sick within the first 30 days, you are entitled to return it for a full refund. This is similar to any other purchase where the product is not as described or is faulty.
  2. Request a Replacement or Refund: If the illness occurs within the first six months, you can ask for a replacement or a refund. The seller has one opportunity to repair or replace the puppy. If this is not possible, you are entitled to a refund.
  3. Seek Compensation: If the puppy’s illness has resulted in significant veterinary bills, you may be able to claim compensation. Keep all receipts and documentation from your vet to support your claim.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Puppy Farming

  1. Contact the Seller: Inform the seller about the puppy’s condition and your intention to return it or seek compensation. Reputable sellers should be willing to work with you to resolve the issue.
  2. Visit the Vet: Take your puppy to the vet immediately to diagnose the problem and get necessary treatment. Ensure you keep all veterinary records and receipts.
  3. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all communications with the seller, veterinary reports, and any other relevant information. This will be crucial if you need to take legal action.
  4. Report the Incident: If you suspect the puppy came from a puppy farm or an illegal dealer, report the incident to the appropriate authorities. Our organisation is dedicated to investigating puppy farmers and illegal dealers. You can report the incident using our secure online reporting form. Your report can help prevent future incidents of animal cruelty and bring unscrupulous sellers to justice.

Preventing Future Issues

To avoid falling victim to puppy farming in the future, consider these tips when buying a puppy:

  • Research the Seller: Look for reviews and ask for references. Reputable breeders will have positive feedback from previous buyers.
  • Visit the Breeder: Always visit the breeder’s premises to see the conditions in which the puppies are raised. Avoid buying from sellers who refuse to let you see where the puppies live.
  • Ask for Documentation: Request health certificates, vaccination records, and any other relevant paperwork. A legitimate breeder will have no issue providing these.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, it probably is. Walk away if you have any doubts about the seller or the puppy’s health.


Discovering that your new puppy is sick can be heartbreaking, but knowing your rights and the steps to take can help you handle the situation effectively.

Remember, your actions can also help prevent future cases of puppy farming and protect other animals from suffering.

Always report suspicious activity to the authorities, and use our secure online reporting form to help us in the fight against illegal puppy farming. Together, we can ensure a better future for our furry friends.

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Jacob Lloyd Executive Director
Jacob Lloyd is the Executive Director of Animal Welfare Investigations Project. He has experience in conducting covert investigations on organised animal cruelty. He is a Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator through the University of Missouri Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI) in the United States.