What Is The Best Age For A Puppy Before You Can Bring Them Home

dog-sold

No one can deny a newborn puppy since it’s so cute. But there are so many controversies about the early adoption or how old is the puppy eligible to be sold. The point is whether the newborn puppy is safe to be separated from the mother? 

Well, these are some frequently asked questions I’ve found about the earliest age for a puppy to be sold?


FAQ

How old should the puppies be before they are sold? 

There are differences amongst the state about the minimum age for a puppy to be separated from the mother and to be sold. The dog must be 7 weeks old in some states, but it is safe to sell puppies when they are 8 weeks old.

Why do puppies have to reach certain weeks to be sold?

The major reason is that a puppy under 8 weeks old is still fully weaned. Separating a puppy from the mother around the age could make a puppy prone to several illnesses and long-term health issues.

Is it illegal to sell a puppy before the age that it can be sold?

Yes, some states with a regulation for the minimum age for a puppy to be sold can get a penalty and pay $1,000 on average.


One thing to remember is that this law does not apply to everyone, and every state is different from one to the other. Some states apply this regulation for dog breeders, kennel operators, but not a person, but in some states, a person is included.

Besides, some states have no regulation at all for the minimum age of the dog that is eligible to be sold. 

The reason behind this regulation is because the dog under 8 weeks still has to receive an adequate supply of milk from the mother which can help the puppy for growing and confers a certain degree of immunity to disease.

What states apply the regulation for the minimum age for puppies to be sold?

puppy-sold

After the short explanation above, you might wonder which states are implying the regulation for the minimum age for puppies to be sold. And here we’ve compiled all the list states, including the penalty and the person or unity that is covered by the law.

State Citation and Link Persons Covered by Law Minimum Age Under Which Cannot Sell Actions to Which Law Applies Penalty Exemptions
Alabama            
Alaska            
Arizona A.R.S. § 44-1799.04 “Pet Dealer” – means a person who owns a pet store under § 44-1799. Less than eight weeks old Offer for sale Class 1 misdemeanor No
Arkansas            
California West’s Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597z
Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122045 – 122315
Under Section 597z, any person who sells unless approved by Cal. licensed veterinarian.
Section 12155 under the Health & Safety Code is limited to “pet dealer.”
Under Section § 122125, “pet dealer” means a person engaging in the business of selling dogs or cats, or both, at retail, and by virtue of the sales of dogs and cats is required to possess a permit pursuant to Section 6066 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
Under eight weeks old Under Section 597z: unlawful to sell, defined as when seller “physically transfers the dog or dogs to the purchaser.”
Under Section § 122125, a pet dealer shall not be in possession of a dog that is less than eight weeks old.
Under Section 597z, violation is an infraction or misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.
Under Section § 122150, any person violating any provision of this article other than Section 122205 shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.
No
Colorado C.R.S.A. § 35-80-108 Any person or entity Under eight weeks old Sell, transfer, or adopt “Unlawful” and “violation” of the chapter
Civil penalty: under
§ 35-80-113, any person who violates any provision of this article or any rule adopted pursuant to this article is subject to a civil penalty, as determined by the commissioner. The maximum penalty shall not exceed one thousand dollars per violation.
No
Connecticut C.G.S.A. § 22-354 Any person, firm, or corporation Under eight weeks old Import or export for the purposes of sale, adoption or transfer or offering for sale, adoption or transfer any dog or cat under the age of eight weeks unless such dog or cat is transported with its dam.
Sell or offer for adoption or transfer within the state any dog or cat under the age of eight weeks.
$1,000 fine
With the import or export for the purposes of sale, adoption or transfer or offering for sale, adoption or transfer, a dog or cat younger than eight weeks of age may be transported with its dam.
Delaware            
D.C. DC CODE § 8-1808 A person At least 6 weeks of age Separate a puppy or a kitten from its mother
Give, sell, or offer for sale a puppy or kitten under 6 weeks of age, unless the puppy’s or kitten’s mother is given or sold to the same person as the puppy or kitten.
The Mayor shall issue rules to set specific fine amounts for violations of each provision of this subchapter; provided, that the fines shall not exceed the following amounts:
(1) $500 for each offense, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(2) $1000 for each offense for violations of § 8-1808(n), (o) or (p)(1).
DC CODE § 8-1811
Shall not apply in cases where a mother poses a danger to its offspring.
Florida F.S.A. §828.29 Any person Less than eight weeks old Transport into the state for sale or offer for sale within the state Misdemeanor of the first degree as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 No
Georgia Ga Comp. R. & Regs. 40-13-13-.04(2) Pet Dealers: any person who sells, offers to sell, exchanges, or offers for adoption dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, or other animals customarily obtained as pets in this state. Ga. Code Ann., § 4-11-1 Puppies must be a minimum age of eight weeks prior to sale Sold, offered for sale, exchanged, or offered for adoption Shall be guilty of a misdemeanor
License may be denied, suspended, or revoked

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Ga Comp. R. & Regs. 40-13-13-.09

Hawaii            
Idaho            
Illinois 225 I.L.C.S. § 605/2.2 Dog dealer, dog breeder, or cat breeder
Defined under
Sec. 605/2:

“Dog dealer” means any person who sells, offers to sell, exchange, or offers for adoption with or without charge or donation dogs in this State. However, a person who sells only dogs that he has produced and raised shall not be considered a dog dealer under this Act, and a veterinary hospital or clinic operated by a veterinarian or veterinarians licensed under the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act of 2004 shall not be considered a dog dealer under this Act.

“Cat breeder” means a person who sells, offers to sell, exchanges, or offers for adoption with or without charge cats that he or she has produced and raised. A person who owns, has possession of, or harbors 5 or less females capable of reproduction shall not be considered a cat breeder.

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“Dog breeder” means a person who sells, offers to sell, exchanges, or offers for adoption with or without charge dogs that he has produced and raised. A person who owns, has possession of, or harbors 5 or less females capable of reproduction shall not be considered a dog breeder.

Until such puppy or kitten has attained the age of 8 weeks. Separate from its mother for the purpose of sale Not specified No
Indiana I.C.§ 15-17-18-10 A person Under the age of eight weeks
Import to, or export from, Indiana for the purpose of sale UNLESS transported with dam
 
Research facilities licensed under the federal Laboratory Animals Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq., are exempted from this prohibition.
Iowa            
Kansas By administrative regulation: KS ADC 9-25-12 A retail breeder licensee Puppy must be eight weeks old AND weaned.
“Weaned” means that an animal has become accustomed to taking solid food and has done so, without nursing, for a period of at least five days.
Sell or exchange Not specified No
Kentucky            
Louisiana LSA-R.S. 3:2511 A retail pet store

“Retail pet store” means a retail establishment where dogs or cats are sold, exchanged, bartered, or offered for sale as pet animals to the general public at retail. Such definition shall not include an animal care facility or animal rescue organization.

Dogs or cats younger than eight weeks old Offer for sale (defined as sell, offer for sale or adoption, barter, auction, give away, or otherwise dispose of a dog or cat) Not listed in the law No
Maine By administrative regulation: 01-001 CMR Ch. 701, § I(N) Any person Until completion of seventh week of life Unlawful to sell, adopt, or give away Per subsection (P): “The Animal Welfare Program will, upon written complaint by any person alleging violation of these Rules, or upon its own motion if it has reason to believe such a violation exists, cause an investigation to be made. If a violation is found to exist, the Animal Welfare Program or the Attorney General may seek enforcement remedies including but not limited to revocation or suspension of the license.” No
Maryland MD Code, Criminal Law § 10-613 A person Less than eight weeks old UNLESS accompanied by its dam. Sell or distribute in the State or bring into the State for the purpose of sale or distribution Misdemeanor with a max. fine of $500
For purposes of humane disposal, a court may seize an animal brought into this State in violation of this section.
Does not apply to:
(1) a biomedical facility that is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture; or

(2) an animal that is accompanied by a signed statement from a licensed veterinarian stating that the animal’s dam is incapacitated for humane or medical reasons and cannot care for the animal.
A person may give an unaccompanied dog or cat to:
an animal shelter or pound that is operated or supported by a government; or
a humane society.

Massachusetts By statute M.G.L.A. 129 § 39G
Also by admin. regulation 330 CMR 12.05
Pet shop, commercial establishment, firm or corp. under M.G.L.A. 129 § 39G
“Licensee” (pet shop) under 330 CMR 12.05
Cannot import under eight weeks M.G.L.A. 129 § 39G
Younger than eight weeks old (330 CMR 12.05)
Import into the commonwealth, for sale or resale in the commonwealth (M.G.L.A. 129 § 39G)
Acquire, display, offer for sale, sell or give away (330 CMR 12.05)
By statute (M.G.L.A. 129 § 43):
First offence by a fine of not more than $100
For any subsequent offence by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both.
Penalty not specified for violation of regulation.
No
Michigan M.C.L. 287.335a A person who operates a pet shop (a place where animals are sold or offered for sale, exchange, or transfer).
A person who operates:
an animal control shelter (a facility operated by a municipality for the impoundment and care of animals that are found in the streets or at large, animals that are otherwise held due to the violation of a municipal ordinance or state law, or animals that are surrendered to the animal control shelter); or
an animal protection shelter (a facility operated by a person, humane society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other nonprofit organization for the care of homeless animals).
A large-scale dog breeding kennel (a facility where more than 15 female intact dogs over the age of 4 months are housed or kept for the primary purpose of breeding. As used in this subdivision, “housed or kept for the primary purpose of breeding” means that the female dog has previously been bred and whelped. A female dog that has not previously produced offspring shall not be considered to have been housed or kept for the primary purpose of breeding).
M.C.L. 287.331
Less than 8 weeks old
(with exceptions for animal shelters/protection agencies and large-scale dog breeding kennels that import underage dogs and cats with their dams)
Import or cause to be imported into this state a dog or cat that is less than 8 weeks old (exception for animal shelters/protection agencies and large-scale dog breeding kennels that import underage dogs and cats with their dams)
Sell, exchange, transfer, or offer for sale, exchange, or transfer a dog or cat that is less than 8 weeks old for pet shops and large-scale dog breeding kennels.
After notice and an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing under Michigan’s APA:
suspend or revoke a license or registration issued to the person under this act.
impose an administrative fine of not more than $1,000.00 for each violation.
Also can obtain a declaratory order or injunction.
M.C.L. 287.339b
Exception for animal shelters/protection agencies and large-scale dog breeding kennels that import underage dogs and cats with their dams
Minnesota M. S. A. § 347.59 Commercial breeder: a person who possesses or has an ownership interest in animals and is engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange in return for consideration, and who possesses ten or more adult intact animals and whose animals produce more than five total litters of puppies or kittens per year. (Section 347.57) Dogs or cats before the age of eight weeks Sold, traded, or given away The board must investigate upon receiving a formal complaint for violations of 347.59.
The Board may then issue a “correction order” under 347.61 and other civil enforcement actions.
Unless a veterinarian determines it would be in the best interests of the health or well-being of the animal
Mississippi            
Missouri Admin. Regulation: 2 Mo. Code of State Regulations 30-9.020 (See subsection 14(E) (“Miscellaneous”)) Any person Under eight weeks old AND has been weaned Delivered by any person to any carrier or intermediate handler for transport, in commerce, or shall be transported in commerce Not specified
Except a registered research facility
Montana            
Nebraska Neb. Rev. St. § 28-1018 A person (other than other than an animal control facility, animal rescue, or animal shelter) Under eight weeks of age without its mother Sell Class V misdemeanor
Excludes:Animal Control Facility defined as a facility operated by the state or any political subdivision of the state for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals.
Animal Shelter defined as a facility used to house or contain dogs or cats and owned, operated, or maintained by an incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of such animals.
Nevada N.R.S. § 574.500 A retailer, dealer or operator:
“Retailer” means a person who acquires pets for resale (574.320)
“Operator” means a person responsible for the operation of:
1. A cattery, kennel or commercial establishment engaged in the business of selling animals; or
2. An animal shelter.
(574.290)
“Dealer” means a person who, for compensation or profit, buys, sells, breeds, trades or imports cats or dogs for resale (574.260)
Eight weeks of age or accustomed to taking food or nourishment other than by nursing, whichever is later Separate puppy or kitten from its mother prior to weaning Misdemeanor No
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. § 437:8 No person, firm, corporation, or other entity Less than 8 weeks of age Ship or bring into the state to offer for transfer in the state, any cat, dog, or ferret less than 8 weeks of age.
No person, firm, corporation, or other entity shall offer for transfer any cat, dog, or ferret less than 8 weeks of age.
Any pet vendor who violates any of the provisions of this subdivision or rule adopted under it may be subject to an administrative fine levied by the commissioner, not to exceed $1,000 for each violation (437:10).
Animal shelter facilities, as defined in RSA 437:1, I, are exempt from the requirements of this section relative to transferring dogs, cats, and ferrets
New Jersey            
New Mexico            
New York McKinney’s Agriculture and Markets Law § 402 Pet dealer: any person who engages in the sale or offering for sale of more than nine animals per year for profit to the public. Such definition shall include breeders who sell or offer to sell animals; provided that it shall not include the following:
(a) Any breeder who sells or offers to sell directly to the consumer fewer than twenty-five animals per year that are born and raised on the breeder’s residential premises;
(b) Any municipal pound or shelter dedicated to the care of unwanted animals which makes such animals available for adoption whether or not a fee for such adoption is charged, established and maintained pursuant to subdivision one of section one hundred fourteen of this https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ny-dogs-consolidated-dog-laws#s400chapter; and
(c) Any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, duly incorporated humane society, duly incorporated animal protective association or other duly incorporated animal adoption or animal rescue organization dedicated to the care of unwanted animals which makes such animals available for adoption whether or not a fee for such adoption is charged that is exempt from taxes pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (c) of section 501 of the federal Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 501, or any subsequent corresponding sections of the federal Internal Revenue Code, as from time to time amended, that is registered with the department pursuant to section four hundred eight of this article.
(Section 400)
Younger than eight weeks old Knowingly sell any cat or dog younger than eight weeks of age Per Section 406:
denial, revocation, suspension, or refusal of renewal of pet dealer’s license
also a civil offense, for which a penalty of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each violation may be imposed.
No
North Carolina            
North Dakota            
Ohio RC § 955.50 No person Under the age of eight weeks Sell, offer to sell, or expose for sale, for the purpose of resale or receive for delivery within this state, or ship from any point within this state to any point outside this state, for sale to the general public at retail Penalty per 955.99(C): minor misdemeanor on first offense and a misdemeanor of fourth degree on subsequent offenses
This section does not apply to the transportation of dogs in interstate commerce by common carrier, provided that neither the point of shipment nor the point of receiving is within this state.
Oklahoma          
Oregon            
Pennsylvania 3 P.S. § 459-603
3 P.S. 459-214 for importation of dogs into state
Anyone Under eight weeks old Barter, trade, raffle, sell, auction or in any way transfer ownership under 3 P.S. § 459-603
Transport any dog into this Commonwealth 3 P.S. 459-214
“Unlawful” – not otherwise specified
Rhode Island            
South Carolina Code 1976 § 47-1-200 A person A dog or cat under eight weeks of age Must not be imported or exported without being accompanied by its dam. Misdemeanor with fine not less than $200 nor more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both
Allowed if dog or act under eight weeks is accompanied by its dam
South Dakota            
Tennessee            
Texas By administrative regulation: 16 TAC § 91.113 Licensed breeders: defined a dog or cat breeder who holds a license issued under chapter 802. V. T. C. A., Occupations Code § 802.001(13) A dog or cat at least eight weeks of age Sell, trade, or give away
Also,
Section 802.201 states that rules adopting minimum standards must prohibit a dog or cat breeder from selling, trading, or giving away an animal before the animal is eight weeks of age.
If a person violates this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter, the person is subject to any action or penalty under Subchapter F or G, Chapter 51.
V. T. C. A., Occupations Code § 802.251
No
Utah By administrative regulation: UT ADC R58-1-13(3) Under enabling statute, it is unlawful for any person, or the officer or employee of any person, to willfully violate, disobey, or disregard this title or any notice or order issued under this title. U.C.A. 1953 § 4-2-303 No puppies or kittens less than 8 weeks of age Imported into the state Under enabling statute, any person, or the officer or employee of any person, who violates this title or any lawful notice or order issued pursuant to this title shall be assessed a penalty not to exceed $5,000 per violation in a civil proceeding, and is guilty of a class B misdemeanor in a criminal proceeding.
A subsequent criminal violation within two years is a class A misdemeanor.
U.C.A. 1953 § 4-2-304
Unless accompanied by the mother
Vermont            
Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6510 A person Under seven weeks old without its dam or queen Sell, raffle, give away, or offer for sale as pets or novelties, or offer or give as a prize, premium, or advertising device Class 3 misdemeanor
Dealers may offer dogs or cats under the age of seven weeks for sale as pets or novelties with the requirement that prospective owners take possession of the animals only after dogs and cats are at least seven weeks of age.Nothing in this section shall prohibit the sale of an unweaned animal (i) as food for other animals or (ii) with the lactating dam or queen or a lactating surrogate dam or queen that has accepted the animal; (iii) due to a concern for the health or safety of the unweaned animal; or (iv) to animal control, a public or private animal shelter, or a veterinarian.
Washington            
West Virginia            
Wisconsin W.S.A. 173.41 Any person licensed as a/an:animal shelter
animal control facility
dog breeder
dog breeding facility
dog dealer
out-of-state dog dealer
Under seven weeks old Transfer a dog to a buyer May be required to forfeit not more than $1,000 for the first offense and may be required to forfeit not less than $200 nor more than $2,000 for the 2nd or any subsequent offense within 5 years. No
Wyoming            

Source: animallaw.info

So what happens to the states without the law?

Well, if the retailer sells the puppy while he/she is still in the weaning period and is unable to eat on his or her own, as long the puppy is healthy then it won’t be a problem. But, if the puppy suffers due to the retailer’s intention or reckless conduct, then the retailer could face animal cruelty charges.

Conclusion

Selling a puppy under 8 weeks is breaking the rule in some states. Even so, buying a dog while he or she is on a weaning period is unsafe, since it can result in health issues for the puppy. Besides, puppies under 8 weeks are unable to eat on their own. 

If you want to take care of a small puppy, the best action is to talk to a veterinarian in advance to find the best age to adopt or buy a new puppy

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