Is It Illegal To Sell Puppies Before 8 Weeks?

Are you unsure if it’s illegal to sell puppies before 8 weeks? This article will discuss both the reasons to avoid this practice as well as the laws that prevent breeders from selling puppies prior to 8 weeks. 

This article also contains information on the states that prohibit the sale of puppies younger than 8 weeks old. 

Read on to learn more about the legalities involved in selling puppies earlier than 8 weeks! There are a few excellent reasons to sell puppies later.

Is it Illegal to Sell Puppies Before 8 Weeks?

29 states define the age at which puppies can be separated from the mother dog. 22 of these states that it is illegal to sell puppies before 8 weeks of age. 3 states; Wisconsin, Virginia, and Maine prohibit selling of puppies before they’re seven weeks old.

In some states, puppies can be taken from their mothers as early as 6 weeks old. However, it is not recommended to do so. 

Legality Of Selling Puppies Before 8 Weeks Of Age

Legality of selling puppies earlier than eight weeks is subject to debate. The current health crisis around the world is one of the reasons for the rise in the demand for puppies. 

People who are not careful sell puppies as early as less than eight weeks in order to profit from the rising demand for pets. The best option is to keep your puppy until it has fully matured and weaned. 

The UK Kennel Club advises against selling puppies to a new home before 8 weeks of age. However, breeders can still list their puppies for sale prior to the 8 week mark. 

Before selling the pup, the law seeks breeders to make sure that their puppies have undergone vet checks before being offered for sale. 

The Reason Why Puppies Shouldn’t Be Sold Prior To 8 Weeks Of Age.

There are varying opinions on the legality of selling puppies before they are 8 weeks old. Some people believe that it is cruel to sell puppies so young, as they are not ready to be away from their mothers and may not be properly socialized. 

Others believe that it is perfectly fine to sell puppies at any age, as long as they are healthy and have been well cared for. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to sell puppies before they are 8 weeks old depends on the state the breeder or seller is living in.

For the first eight weeks, puppies need to be fed by their mother. Milk from the mother is vital for nutrition and provides the foundation needed for good health. That’s why it’s not a good idea to sell a puppy before its mother has it weaned. 

The reason is that puppies that are removed from their mothers before they’re eight weeks old could develop mental and behavioral issues that cause them to be difficult to train. This isn’t just cruel, but it’s also unneeded.

In addition to this the demand for puppies has risen due to the worldwide health crisis, and therefore those who aren’t careful are trying to make quick money. In these situations it is best to wait until your puppies are completely weaned and 8 weeks old before selling them. 

The new owner of a puppy doesn’t want to have to face a frustrated or crying puppy. By waiting, you’ll save them money as well as the puppy’s emotional well-being.

There are laws in a variety of states that ban the sale of puppies that are less than eight weeks old. age. If you decide to sell your puppy before it reaches its eight weeks of development, you could face heavy fines and even jail time.

States With Laws Prohibiting Sale Of Puppies Before 8 Weeks Of Age

States With Laws Prohibiting Sale Of Puppies Before 8 Weeks Of Age

While most states have laws prohibiting the sale of puppies less than eight weeks old, a few states do not have such laws.

For instance the state of Arizona, puppy sales are prohibited until the animal is at least eight weeks old. 

California law prohibits selling puppies under eight weeks old. This can be punished with a $1,000 fine. 

In Colorado, selling puppies before eight weeks of age is unlawful regardless of the person who sold the animal. The laws are only applied to pet owners, pet stores, and dealers, in the majority of instances.

Kansas also prohibits puppies to be adopted prior to eight weeks old, unless they have been weaned. Weaned means that the animal has been exposed to solid food for at minimum five days.

Selling puppies can cause aggression and separation anxiety. Prior to the age of eight weeks puppies have not yet learned how to act in a manner that is appropriate and respects the other. It has to develop alongside its mother and litter to gain valuable life lessons, like how to behave around other animals. These skills can vary depending on the breed and age. Most puppies learn them within between three and six weeks.

Similar laws are in place for Indiana concerning the adoption or sale of puppies that are less than eight weeks of age. It is not legal to export a kitten or puppy under eight weeks of age. 

The prohibition does not apply to research facilities that are licensed under the 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq. and to breeding facilities that are licensed under 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq. 

29 States With Minimum Age To Sell Puppies

S/NStateCitation LinkMinimum Age Which Cannot Sell
1.ArizonaA.R.S. § 44-1799.04Less Than Eight Weeks Old
2.CaliforniaWest’s Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597z Under Eight Weeks Old
3.ColoradoC.R.S.A. § 35-80-108Under Eight Weeks Old
4.ConnecticutC.G.S.A. § 22-354Under Eight Weeks Old
5.DcDc Code § 8-1808At Least 6 Weeks Of Age
6.FloridaF.S.A. §828.29Less Than Eight Weeks Old
7.GeorgiaGa Comp. R. & Regs. 40-13-13-.04(2)Minimum Age Of Eight Weeks Prior To Sale
8.Illinois225 I.L.C.S. § 605/2.2Until Puppy Has Attained The Age Of 8 Weeks
9.IndianaI.C.§ 15-17-18-10Under The Age Of Eight Week
10.KansasKs Adc 9-25-12Must Be Eight Weeks Old And Weaned
11.LouisianaLsa-R.S. 3:2511Younger Than Eight Weeks Old
12.Maine01-001 Cmr Ch. 701, § I(N)Until Completion Of Seventh Week Of Life
13.MarylandMd Code, Criminal Law § 10-613Less Than Eight Weeks Old Unless Accompanied By Its Dam
14.MassachusettsM.G.L.A. 129 § 39gYounger Than Eight Weeks Old
15.MichiganM.C.L. 287.335aLess Than 8 Weeks Old
16.MinnesotaM. S. A. § 347.59Before The Age Of Eight Weeks 
17.Missouri2 Mo. Code Of State Regulations 30-9.020Under Eight Weeks Old And Has Been Weaned
18.NebraskaNeb. Rev. St. § 28-1018Under Eight Weeks Of Age Without Its Mother
19.NevadaN.R.S. § 574.500Eight Weeks Of Age Or Accustomed To Taking Food Or Nourishment Other Than By Nursing, Whichever Is Later
20.New HampshireN.H. Rev. Stat. § 437:8Less Than 8 Weeks Of Age
21.New YorkMckinney’s Agriculture And Markets Law § 402Younger Than Eight Weeks Old
22.OhioRc § 955.50Under The Age Of Eight Weeks
23.OklahomaOkla. Admin. Code 35:55-5-2 Under Eight Weeks Old
24.Pennsylvania3 P.S. § 459-603 At Least Eight Weeks Of Age
25.South CarolinaCode 1976 § 47-1-200Under Eight Weeks Of Age
26.Texas16 Tac § 91.113At Least Eight Weeks Of Age
27.UtahUt Adc R58-1-13(3)No Puppies Or Kittens Less Than 8 Weeks Of Age 
28.VirginiaVa. Code Ann. § 3.2-6510Under Seven Weeks Old Without Its Dam Or Queen
29.WisconsinW.S.A. 173.41Under Seven Weeks Old
We’ll keep updating this table as soon as we find updates about other states


There is no federal law that mandates how old a puppy must be before it can be sold, but most states have their own laws on the matter. 

Many states require that puppies be at least 8 weeks old before they can be sold, but some states allow for puppies to be as young as 6 weeks old. 

Some breeders will choose to keep their puppies longer than the minimum age requirement in order to socialize them more and give them a better chance at a successful transition into their new homes. 

Ultimately, it is up to the breeder to decide when their puppies are ready to go to their forever homes.

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Coco is a regular content writer of pet daily press and working on wildlife animal health. Billy researched on hundreds of dog health issues, foods, medicines and dog's behaviours. He currently lives in Orlando, FL. He owns a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees. His wife also has two cats.

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