The legality of the sale of goods and services is sometimes debatable, considering the nature of the goods and the prevailing laws existing at the time of the sale.

The sale of animals has been subjected to many legal reviews, as certain such laws are put in place worldwide to curb the indiscriminate sale of animals depending on what kind of animal.

Animals used for meat are reared and grown for that purpose, but animals considered pets are now protected by the law to avoid indiscriminate sale.

This article attempts to answer whether it is legal to sell a puppy without a health certificate in the United States.

What is a Health Certificate?

A health certificate is a certificate attesting that a dog is of good health condition, and it is most times required when travelling within and outside the United States or while conducting certain transactions with the puppy as the subject matter of the transaction.

A dog health certificate or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) is an official document a veterinarian doctor fills out after he/she performs a thorough examination on a pet such as a dog. 

Do I Need A Health Certificate For My Puppy In The United States?

Generally, a health certificate is not required, but it attests to the dog’s health status. It is sometimes used to establish ownership, grant for travelling permits, and transfer title of ownership in some states.

The legal system of the United States is such that there are federal laws and states law; there are certain matters that are provided for within state laws, such as pet laws. 

A dog offered for sale must have a health certificate issued by a certified veterinarian in a state like Florida. The certificate must state that the dog has been administered with all the tests, vaccines, and anthelmintic.

Some of the requirements for a health certificate to be issued by a veterinarian doctor includes the following:

Health Examination

  • Negative faecal test
  • Age-appropriate vaccinations
  • Dose of deworming to be given by the Doctor

Is it Legal to Sell a Puppy in the United States without a Health Certificate?

The legality of puppy sale in the United States without having a health certificate may be a cause of concern for many Pet breeders or individuals who may desire to sell off their puppy for one reason or the other. It is believed that it is better to err on the side of caution than to err on the side of the law because the law may have devastating consequences. The law as an instrument of social change must be accorded its right of place in the place of things; that is why we must consider the legality of our actions before we take them.

The requirement of a health certificate as conditional precedence to legalize the sale of a puppy in the United States is dicey; this is because the laws in the United States can be made generally to bind all states or left at the discretion of states of the United States to determine the position of the law on certain matters. Pet laws in the United States are such that each state is allowed to draft and implement its applicable laws regarding the pet’s welfare.

Therefore, the general position of the law is that there is no uniform law or federal law that states that the sale of the puppy within the United States is illegal. Although the States enacts certain State laws to protect the indiscriminate sale of the puppy as such laws are enacted to mandate the presence of health certificates as a condition precedent before the sale of a puppy will be deemed legal.

Examples of states with such laws include Florida, California, Maine, Indiana, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Colorado, and others.


It is quite apt to state at this juncture that the question of legality as regards the sale of a puppy without a health certificate in the United States has been discussed extensively. It is therefore important that you either obtain a health certificate to avoid erring on the side of the law when selling your puppy irrespective of the states in the United States you are located in or consult your pet lawyer to ascertain the position of law as regards the sale of a puppy within a particular state in the United States.


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