Thinking about adopting a dog from another country?

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Do your homework first

Homeless dog waiting for a new owner in the shelter

When looking to adopt a new dog, you may find one listed online in another country. Some overseas adoption agencies or breeders may be scams or misrepresent a pet’s health or medical history. Do your research before you adopt to ensure that you, your family, and your new dog stay safe and healthy.

The risks of overseas adoptions

Some rescue groups, animal welfare agencies, and breeders may misrepresent themselves and the dogs they sell, rescue, or adopt.

Little puppy
  • Dogs may be a different sex, age, color, or breed than what was promised.
  • Dogs may come with undisclosed health issues or fake health or vaccination records.
  • Unethical organizations may raise dogs in inhumane conditions, like puppy mills. Some may say they are US-based but are actually overseas.
  • Dogs, especially puppies, may be put on long flights when unfit to travel. Dogs imported to the US often arrive sick; some don’t survive the trip.
  • Imported dogs are more likely to carry diseases, like rabies, that are common in other countries. This puts people and other animals in the United States at risk.

How to adopt safely

  • Consider adopting in the United States. This can be safer, easier, and cheaper than adopting from overseas.
  • Research overseas organizations thoroughly. Visit in person if you can, or read reviews and ask to speak to previous clients.
  • Make sure you know the required steps to import a dog into the United States. There is a temporary suspension on importing dogs from countries with a high risk of rabies.
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as it arrives.
  • Vaccinate your dog for rabies. Even if your dog came with a rabies vaccination record, state laws may require revaccination with a vaccine approved for use in the United States.

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