Is It Cruel to Sell Your Dog? (how to do it ethically)

Most people want what’s best for their pets, and for various reasons, people start thinking about selling. This is when they often ask whether it’s cruel or not to sell their dog or puppy.

Quick Answer

It’s not necessarily cruel to sell a dog, but it’s important to be responsible and ensure that the dog goes to a good home where they will be well cared for. This means thoroughly vetting potential buyers and ensuring they are prepared to provide for the dog’s needs.

In this article, we explore whether it’s humane to sell a dog/puppy, why selling online is a bad idea, how to sell a dog ethically, and what are some alternatives to selling a dog.

white and brown looking sad

Is It Humane to Sell Your Dog?

Whether it is humane to sell your dog is determined by several factors, including the dog’s age, health, and temperament, as well as the circumstances and motivations surrounding the sale.

In some cases, it may be necessary or in the dog’s best interests to sell it, such as when the owner cannot provide proper care due to illness, disability, or a change in living situation.

In other cases, however, selling a dog may not be the most humane option, especially if done for the wrong reasons or without regard for the dog’s well-being.

The issue with selling the dog is that people forget that dogs are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, pleasure, and discomfort. When you sell a dog, the main focus is on your wallet, not the dog’s well-being. That’s not to say you can’t humanely sell a dog if you try.

Selling a dog (or a cat) to make more money is often considered unethical and may lead to decisions based on money rather than ethics.

dog is not a handbag or a pair of shoes – it is a living being, and the owners/caretakers are responsible for ensuring its well-being.

While there are a few good reasons to rehome a dog, there are almost none to sell. Some people would ask for such a high rehoming fee and wouldn’t care about the buyer that it looks more like a sale than rehoming. Make sure you know the difference.

Additionally, selling your dog can lead to feelings of guilt and doubt, particularly if you’re uncertain about the buyer’s intentions or their ability to provide proper care.

If you are considering selling your dog, you should carefully consider all the potential consequences and make the best decision for the dog’s welfare.

Why Selling/Giving Animals Online Is a Bad Idea

There are several reasons why selling or giving animals online is generally considered a bad idea.

Risk of animal cruelty: There is no way to ensure that animals sold or given away online are well-treated and kept in safe, healthy conditions. Animals sold or given away online have frequently been neglected, mistreated, or even abused.

Lack of regulation: Unlike conventional pet shops and animal shelters, there is often little to no regulation of online animal sales and giveaways, making it challenging to guarantee that animals are healthy and well cared for.

Lack of screening: When animals are purchased or given away online, there is frequently no procedure to ensure that the buyer can provide the animal with the necessary care. As a result, animals may be placed with owners who are unprepared or unable to meet the animal’s needs, resulting in neglect or abandonment.

Risk of scams: Unfortunately, many people prey on people’s trust by pretending to sell or give away animals on classified websites and social media platforms. These frauds can be challenging to spot and cause people to lose money without giving them an animal.

smiling woman hugging puppy

When you advertise your pet online, you never know who will take it. The risk with dogs and puppies is high because you may encounter owners who participate in dog fighting, use puppies as baiting, or could be hoarding pets, which victimizes animals.

Some will use the dog for backyard breeding and then sell it to whoever is willing to pay the price but may not care for the dogs.

Instead of buying or obtaining a dog online, adopting one from a reputable animal shelter or rescue organization is typically safer and more responsible. This applies to cats, too.

Can You Sell a Dog Ethically?

While selling a dog is rarely the best option, there are a few things to remember if you want to do it ethically and ensure the dog goes to the right person.

Ensure the dog’s health and well-being. Before selling a dog, ensure it is in good health and adequately cared for. This means ensuring the dog gets regular veterinary care, eats well, and lives in a clean place.

It is critical to thoroughly screen potential buyers to ensure they can provide a good home for the dog. This could mean asking the buyer where they live, how they spend their time, and if they have ever owned a dog.

Consider requiring potential buyers to sign a contract outlining the terms of the sale, including any warranties or guarantees. This can help to safeguard the dog’s welfare and guarantee that the new owner will be held responsible for giving the pet the care it needs. Here’s an example of a puppy contract.

Set boundaries. It’s okay to set limits on who can buy your dog and under what circumstances they can be returned or resold.

Try to visit the place you’re sending the dog to. A good safeguard is to have them fixed beforehand, which may eliminate backyard breeders as they’ll usually back out.

Charge a fair price. Don’t price the dog too low or give them away for free. This can encourage impulse buying and may not prioritize the dog’s well-being. A fair price not only values your dog’s worth but also often acts as a filter against those who might not be serious about long-term commitment.

It’s a win-win situation when you can find the right home for a dog. The dog gets a new home and, hopefully, a family who genuinely wants it and will spend time with it so that it does not grow to resent it.

But try to do it when they’re puppies.

Dogs are not children. You can’t wait for them to mature. If you know a dog isn’t a good fit for your lifestyle, it’s best to rehome it as soon as possible to give it the best chance at a loving home and a good life. A young, vibrant puppy might adjust more quickly to a new home than an older, set-in-their-ways dog, making the sale process potentially smoother and more ethical.

white and brown long coated dog in a green leather bag

What Are the Alternatives to Selling a Dog?

There may be several good reasons to find a new home for your dog. One of these reasons is when you don’t have enough money to care for the dog. However, in that case, you should rehome the dog rather than sell them.

Getting a dog requires commitment, but sometimes rehoming the dog is the best option. It’s still a stressful time for the dog, and it’s our responsibility as caretakers to find them a loving home. When rehoming, it’s best to ask for a rehoming fee, for several reasons.

Another option is to temporarily care for a dog as a foster parent while they wait for a permanent home. Many rescue organizations rely on foster homes to give dogs in need of care a safe and loving environment.

You can donate your dog to the police, a therapy group, or a research facility, depending on the circumstances. These organizations frequently have specific requirements for the dogs they accept and may charge a donation fee.

If the dog is poorly trained, it is potentially a liability in the wrong hands.

If you cannot care for the dog, try to find a breed-specific rescue. As a result, you can be confident that they will carefully evaluate any family who applies to adopt the dog and ensure that the dog is placed in a good home with breed knowledge and experience.


At what age should you sell a puppy?

In general, it is best to wait until a puppy is at least 8-12 weeks old before selling it, as this allows the puppy to receive adequate care and socialization from its mother and littermates.

It is also critical to consider the laws and regulations in your area regarding the sale of puppies. There may be specific requirements or restrictions on the age at which puppies can be sold in some areas, and it is vital to ensure that you comply with these laws.

Is selling dogs allowed on Instagram and Facebook?

It is generally permissible to sell dogs on Instagram and Facebook, but specific rules and regulations must be followed.

Instagram’s Community Guidelines state that private individuals cannot sell live animals, but brick-and-mortar stores may offer these sales. Therefore, with a proper license and a physical location, there seems to be no specific prohibition against selling animals on Instagram, including dogs.

Facebook has a policy that doesn’t allow the sale of animals, including dogs. This includes posts about dogs for adoption. It doesn’t mean you’ll go to jail if you sell a puppy on Facebook, but they could terminate your account anytime and remove your post.

What to do if you can’t care for a dog anymore?

You have several options, including rehoming a dog by carefully finding a new owner, temporarily fostering until a rescue can find a home, donating a dog to an organization, or surrendering a dog to a shelter.

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