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Pawsitive Puppy Placement: A Guide to Ethical Puppy Sales on Craigslist

At A Glance

You probably have many questions about selling puppies on Craigslist. There are concerns about animal welfare when selling to strangers, so it’s best to follow a reliable process when using the Internet to buy and sell puppies. In this guide, you will find:

  • Steps to follow when rehoming puppies on Craigslist
  • How to find the perfect new owner for your puppy

Last Updated on: Jun 13, 2023


Craigslist is a treasure trove of listings. You can find the most unique things with just one search. If you’re a pet owner and have a lot more on your plate than you can handle, you may want to rehome your dog or its puppies. There are many reasons someone might no longer be able to care for a dog, and no one’s judging you.

Nurturing and caring for a whole pack of puppies is challenging. And as heartbreaking as it can be, rehoming them-more often than not-is necessary. That’s when you can consider Craigslist.

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Selling Dogs Online

If you can’t make peace with the thought of giving up your dog to a shelter, you could consider selling the dog. There are many ways to do so, like social media and dedicated websites for dog lovers. Another popular option is Craigslist.

It’s more or less the marketplace of the Internet, with localized communities and millions of monthly users. Your puppy’s next loving owner could be browsing the site looking for a new pet and some guidance right now!

However, when learning how to sell puppies on Craigslist, you should keep one thing in mind. The site does not allow the sale of animals. Instead, you can place a classified ad for pet adoption and charge the buyer a small rehoming fee.

Remember to never put your puppy up on Craigslist for free, simply because the people looking for a bargain deal on a dog may not make the best pet owners.

How to List a Puppy for Rehoming On Craigslist

how to sell puppies on craigslist - infographic image

Craigslist sees thousands of users daily. You can therefore expect a quick response to your ads. These are the steps to rehome your puppy on Craigslist:

Create Your Ad Listing For Your Puppy

The first step to finding your puppy a new home through Craigslist is placing an ad. You will have to place the ad on Craigslist’s Community section. You can and should charge a rehoming fee; I strongly recommend you do. This discourages lax pet owners, animal abusers, and dog fighters from contacting you.

Your puppy’s ad listing for adoption on Craigslist should include important details like its breed, age, weight, vaccinations, medical history, veterinary records, and temperament. Don’t forget to include a few photos as well.

Ask Potential Owners Questions to Learn About Them

Unfortunately, not everyone’s motives are pure. Puppy mills and dog fighting rings often scan the Internet for animals they can exploit.

“I have seen horrific stories of abuse by people who adopted a dog that was listed as ‘free to a good home’ on Craigslist. It’s probably one of the worst cases of animal abuse I’ve ever seen. Craigslist is also frequented by dog fighters who are looking for free bait dogs,” Kelly Reeves, the co-founder of the animal rescue non-profit Paw Prints in the Sand, once said in an interview.

I would strongly urge owners to set a questionnaire for anyone who responds to your puppy adoption ad listing. Craigslist lets users communicate over the phone or email, so you should interview potential pet parents. Ask them about their experience in caring for dogs and how they can provide for your puppy. Knowing the right questions to ask will help you find a home that is a good fit for your pup.

Consider a Home Visit

Once you’ve narrowed down a potential new owner for your puppy, ask them if you can visit their home. This allows you to see your puppy’s new home-to-be and evaluate the environment and is an effective way to filter out unsavory applicants who would refuse a home visit.

Remember, these are strangers you’re dealing with, and little caution is healthy. And never go alone for a home visit; always take a friend or two along.

Rules To Follow When Selling a Dog On Craigslist

How to Sell Puppies On Craigslist- Rules To Follow When Selling A Dog On Craigslist

When you decide to sell your puppy on Craigslist, you should follow the rules below to attract the right kind of users to your ad listing:

Take a Good Photo Of Your Pet

For pet parents, their fur babies are the cutest on the planet. But if you’re looking to rehome your pet, you must put up some pics of the pup from various angles. Interested buyers will need some reference to the puppy’s appearance. Your pictures must highlight the puppy’s unique features and show off its cuteness.

Prepare A Brief Description Of Your Dog

Looking at photos can only tell you how a puppy looks, nothing more. Pet owners must list down comprehensive information about their pups. The ad listing should include the dog’s medical history, including what vaccinations it requires and which ones it has already taken.

Be Honest About the Breed And Temperament Of the Dog

Honesty is critical when selling puppies online if you don’t want the person adopting the puppy to feel cheated and return it to you or give it up to a shelter. So, be honest with them. The consequences could affect the new owner and the puppy. You wouldn’t want any mishaps on your conscience.

Adoption Clauses

An adoption contract is one of the best ways to safeguard your puppy’s well-being. Have the new owner sign the adoption contract after explaining its terms clearly to them. You can put any number of terms in an adoption contract, but the most important one is a clause that allows you to take back the dog if the new owner fails to provide the right standard of care.

Other clauses you can include in the adoption contract are:

  • A guarantee that your pup will not be dropped off at a shelter that euthanizes unwanted animals
  • A schedule of vet visits and check-ups that the new owner must adhere to
  • The right to visit the puppy at its new home to check up on its welfare

The above rules apply when rehoming your puppy on Craigslist or any other platform. It’s worth mentioning that Craigslist users don’t have the best reputation, so you might want to check out a dedicated platform for selling puppies rather than an open classified website. But as long as you follow the steps and perform due diligence, you can find a good home for your puppy, no matter the online platform!

Also Read: New Puppy Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Sell Puppies On Craigslist-Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Sell Puppies On Craigslist?

Technically, no. You cannot “sell” puppies on Craigslist. However, you can put them up for adoption and charge a nominal fee. Ad listings for puppy adoptions can be posted in the Community section of Craigslist. Charging a rehoming fee for adopting your puppy is necessary because it keeps away those who want a free puppy for dubious reasons.

Why Does Craigslist Prohibit The Sale Of Pets?

Craigslist prohibits the sale of pets in its marketplace for the animals’ welfare. The website’s Terms of Service (TOS) state, “The sale of pets is prohibited, though re-homing with small adoption fees is acceptable.” This makes it harder for unlicensed breeders and puppy mill operators to use the platform to sell puppies.

Is It Immoral To Sell A Puppy On Craigslist?

Selling puppies on Craigslist is questionable, but what’s important are the intentions behind the move. Using Craigslist to find a good home for a puppy that needs it is morally superior to trying to profit from an abused or unhealthy pet. Your pet’s quality of life should be your top concern when selling it on Craigslist.


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Meet Sheryl, a dedicated pet mom with over 20 years of hands-on experience as a pet mom to various dog breeds, from German Shepherds to Shih Tzus. Join her on her pet-centric journey as she aims to empower pet owners with practical tips and guidance. With her experience and passion for pets, she strives to make a positive impact in the lives of pets and their devoted owners.