*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Finding a new puppy can be a daunting task. How much should you pay for a specific breed? Should you pay at all? Finding a free puppy is possible, though there are issues and warnings as well as concerns with the practice. Learn how to do it right and find free puppies with our guide.
Finding free puppies isn’t as easy as you may think. For starters, free doesn’t always mean at zero cost. There are usually going to be some type of fee involved in adopting a new puppy into your home.
When the term free puppies is tossed around it refers to the breeding costs being reduced to zero. You may still have to pay a re-homing fee or an adoption fee. These prices can range from a few dollars to a few hundred. In general, though, a free puppy will be free. At least as far as money is concerned.
In this article, we will look at where to go to find free puppies, either online or in your local area. We will also examine how to tell if your puppy is coming from a good place and how to avoid the dreaded “puppy mills.”
Lastly, we will look at the concerns and downfalls of adopting a free puppy that you should be aware of. Owning a puppy is a lifelong commitment. While saving money by not having to pay breeder fees can help, you will need to ensure that you are ready for pet ownership.
A growing concern with people giving away their pets in the digital age has made free puppies harder to find. Most people only give away their puppies because they have some life-altering situation that is forcing them to get rid of the puppies. Moving where dogs aren’t allowed, downsizing to a space not suitable for the health of the dog, etc., are all reason you may see.
However, the Internet has made it easy for unscrupulous persons to acquire puppies for free and use them for fighting, or other malicious intents. To help avoid this, most people will ask for a re-homing fee. This is usually a nominal fee of $20 to $100. This helps ensure that the dog is going to a good home.
There are many classified ad websites, like Craigslist, that will list puppies for sale. You can browse through the listings and use the keyword search to look for specific breeds and prices. The price minimum should be left at $0 to ensure the free listings are loaded.
For the price maximum, you shouldn’t place it at $0, instead put in the amount you are willing to pay to adopt a puppy. This will allow listings that do have a nominal re-homing fee to appear in the search results.
There are dedicated sites that offer only free puppy listings as well. Sites such as Free Puppies dot Net, for example, have a worldwide database driven system with listings of people that are looking to give away their puppies.
With these sites, you can search by location, region and specific breed type. While the listings are free and the puppies generally are, too, there may still be fees associated with the adoption. These fees will be laid out and explained by the dog owner, so you will know exactly what to expect.
Social media sites, such as Facebook, will have local area groups that you can join where people will post status updates about giving away puppies. As a member of the site, you can interact with the owner to find out all the information you need to know, schedule meets and discuss issues.
It also gives you a semi-permanent link to the original owner should you need to contact them regarding issues that come up, such as health information the veterinarian may need to know.
Shopping online for a free puppy is more challenging than shopping locally, in person. You have to rely on a written description and a few photos to see what you are getting. It does happen where what you see isn’t what you get.
You should contact the owner and never be in a hurry. Spend time emailing or calling the owner and set up a few meeting appointments to view the dog. At a minimum, you should try for two separate meetings to ensure the dog is something you want, and that everything with the adoption is right and forthcoming.
Finally, you can look online at your local animal shelter websites or the Humane Society. There are rarely free listings here, but with a lot of shelters, they need the animals adopted to make room. In these cases, they may waive the adoption fees or drastically cut the overall costs.
With these companies, you can go and visit the puppy as often as you like and make sure that you and the puppy get along before committing to the adoption.
In-person adoptions tend to be a little safer. You can see the puppy live without having to rely on photos and text descriptions.
Newspapers and magazines will have a classified ads section you can browse and contact the owners from. However, there are several other ways to find free puppies locally.
Pet stores, veterinarian offices and other businesses that cater to dogs will usually have a billboard where locals can post contact information for dog adoption. Going to your local pet store may also result in finding a posted index card with your next puppy’s information.
Sometimes you may not even be looking in an area known to cater to dogs. Sometimes a dog owner will be surprised with a pregnant puppy and unable to care for the babies for one reason or another. You may find them standing outside grocery stores trying to give the puppies away to passers-by.
Friends, family, and co-workers are also a good source of information regarding free puppies. There is usually someone that knows someone that has a neighbor that is giving away a puppy. Letting it be known that you are looking for a puppy. Specifically, a free puppy will allow those that you see every day to alert you when they hear something.
Is it a Puppy Mill?
One thing to try and avoid at all costs are puppy mills. A puppy mill is a breeder that forces dogs to have babies for financial gain or just to be cruel. In almost every case, the dogs are malnourished, mistreated and living in horrible conditions.
While it may tug at your heartstrings to want to rescue these puppies, you shouldn’t. The conditions are done on purpose, just for that reason. The only way to stop them is to avoid them. If no one were to get a puppy from a puppy mill, the puppy mills would be forced to stop.
When you “rescue” a puppy, you inherit a dog that will most likely have serious health issues that will only cost you money in veterinarian and medicine costs, as well as possible heartbreak and sadness.
Identifying a puppy mill isn’t always easy though. But there are signs, or red flags, to look out for.
Of course, not every instance will be the result of a puppy mill. Perhaps the owner just doesn’t want you to know where they live, or the puppy was found, and no owner located and was pregnant.
Being alert, though, will save you hassle and heartache. Avoiding puppy mills is difficult, as you will want to rescue all of the puppies, but it should be the authorities that are notified and take possession of the dogs, not you.
Getting a free puppy has some negative side-effects. You may not ever truly know what you are getting. Unless it is a reputable breeder (in which case they won’t generally be giving puppies away), the exact breed may not be known. Other issues include:
Some of these may not matter to you though. That is perfectly acceptable. The bottom line is that you get a puppy you love and can care for.
It is still possible to find free puppies. Using online resources, websites, social media groups and the like, you can find free puppies online.
Talking with friends and family and visiting local stores may also yield results. You should avoid getting puppies from a mill, though (report them instead!) While you may not know medical and family history when getting a free puppy, the love and devotion are what truly matter.