Purchasing or adopting a new puppy ought to be a thrilling experience for both the owner and the puppy. This is because it is the beginning of a lifelong relationship between them. That’s why it can be very disheartening when the new pet falls sick or seems to be injured.

Dog breeders are ethically obligated to ensure that the animal being sold is healthy and fit. However, purchasing a new pet usually comes with a number of risks. The possibility exists for newly purchased puppies to be diagnosed with one illness or the other.

Therefore, it is challenging for a new dog Mom or Dad to determine his/her next cause of action when the new pet falls sick immediately after the purchase, or already has an underlying sickness before coming into their new home. 

The objective of this piece is to guide you on what to do if you purchased a sick puppy from a breeder.

1. Take the Pet to See a Veterinarian

The first line of action should be getting the pet some medical care.

This means you need to get him/her to see a vet as soon as possible. You should make sure to properly safeguard all the paperwork and necessary documentation, as this will help you have a record of the health status of the dog. Should you raise the issue with the breeder or decide to take the matter to court, you would have cold hard facts and evidence to back up your claims and aid your complaint.

2. Take it Up with the Breeder

This action is critically dependent on the breeder you choose to get your dog from.

Respected breeders usually have a reputation to keep and always guarantee the health state of their dogs.

They are, therefore, most willing to cover the veterinarian fees for whatever health issues that the dog developed so soon after you bought them, especially if the dog already had the illness.

However, if you purchased the pet from a run-of-the-mill pet store or backyard breeder, the breeder would most likely refuse to cover any costs incurred in nursing the dog back to health. Some might be willing to give you a refund in exchange for taking the dog back, but this might not be the best choice for the dog, so it would usually rest on you to decide to keep the pet or return him/her.

3. Taking Legal Action

Some states have consumer protection laws that pet buyers can also rely on; these are known as ‘Puppy Lemon Laws.’ When your puppy falls sick not too long after you got him from the breeder, your best legal action would be to contact your state’s Attorney General’s office to get relevant information on your state’s puppy lemon laws.

Under certain consumer protection laws, the breeder would be obligated to cover the veterinary fees for health conditions that existed before you purchased the dog. Other state laws permit you to exchange the puppy – if you decide to – in addition to receiving reimbursement. Many state laws mandate the breeder to disclose relevant information about the animal’s health status upon purchase.

Most laws regard pets as goods and therefore provide certain consumer protections that pet owners can rely on if they discover that the pet had an underlying health condition at the time of the sale of the animal, which the breeder failed to disclose.

These protections can be referred to as “Consumer Guarantees.” These consumer guarantees include that the pet has to be fit for purpose; match the description given; and be of acceptable quality, considering what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost.

However, if there was a disclosure of this health condition and the pet owner still went ahead to purchase the animal regardless, then he had consented to bear the cost for nursing the pet back to happy health.

Regardless of the dog’s state upon purchase, priority should be placed on the dog’s health, and the first course of action is getting him or her medical care cannot and should not be neglected.

Nonetheless, the breeder is obligated to give an honest and detailed description of the pet’s condition upon the sale, and the pet owner has legal remedies that he can pursue upon discovering that the pet had a health problem upon purchase or developed one not too long after the purchase.


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1 Comment

  1. Rose Marie Kimball March 18, 2022 Reply

    If you purchase an unhealthy baby, you as an owner are now responsible for the care and upkeep of your pet. I made sure I purchased pet insurance. I spent thousands on my frenchie and continue to monitor daily.

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