puppy scams South Africa
Puppy scams are on the increase in SA. Image: SHARMAINE MONTICALBO/Pexels

Home » Puppy scams in South Africa: How to avoid being a victim

Puppy scams in South Africa: How to avoid being a victim

With the increased interest in pet ownership, the amount of puppy scams has also increased. Here is how to avoid it.

19-02-24 14:16
puppy scams South Africa
Puppy scams are on the increase in SA. Image: SHARMAINE MONTICALBO/Pexels

In recent years, the demand for puppies has surged across South Africa, driven by an increasing interest in pet ownership and companionship. However, with this surge in demand comes a rise in puppy scams, where unscrupulous individuals take advantage of eager buyers through deceitful practices. These scams not only result in financial loss but also cause emotional distress to those who fall victim.

As stated by Pet Hero, the powerful emotion of love can cloud judgment, leading individuals to mistakenly trust they are purchasing a genuine puppy from a reputable breeder. However, within South Africa, there exist unscrupulous individuals who exploit the goodwill of animal lovers for financial gain. Therefore, if you’re searching for a puppy online, exercise caution to avoid the risk of parting with your money and falling victim to deception. To help you navigate this treacherous landscape and ensure a safe and successful puppy adoption process, here are some essential tips on how to avoid puppy scams in South Africa.


Before beginning your search for a puppy, take the time to research different breeds and their typical prices. This knowledge will give you a baseline to compare against any offers you come across. Be wary of prices that seem unusually low or too good to be true, as they could be a red flag for a potential scam.

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When considering a particular breeder, conduct thorough research to verify their credentials. Reputable breeders will be registered with recognized kennel clubs and adhere to ethical breeding practices. Ask for references from past customers and visit the breeder in person if possible to inspect the living conditions of the puppies.

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While online classified websites can be a convenient way to find puppies for sale, they also pose a significant risk for scams. Exercise caution when dealing with sellers you encounter online, especially if they request payment upfront before you’ve had a chance to see the puppy in person.


Scammers often insist on wire transfers or other untraceable payment methods to make it harder for victims to recover their money. Refrain from making any payments until you’ve met the seller, seen the puppy, and are certain of their legitimacy. If possible, use secure payment methods that offer buyer protection, such as PayPal or credit cards.

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Legitimate breeders will provide documentation for the puppy’s vaccinations, health checks, and registration papers. Ask the breeder for copies of these documents and verify their authenticity with the relevant authorities or veterinary clinics. A lack of documentation or evasiveness from the seller should raise suspicion.

By following these guidelines and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to puppy scams in South Africa. Remember to prioritize the well-being of the puppy above all else and only deal with reputable breeders or adoption agencies that prioritize ethical practices and the welfare of their animals.

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