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At What Age Can Puppies Be Sold

↯ Key takeaway points

  • The ideal age for selling and adopting puppies, generally recommended between 8 to 12 weeks old to avoid psychological and physical issues due to early separation.
  • The ideal age for selling and adopting puppies, generally recommended between 8 to 12 weeks old to avoid psychological and physical issues due to early separation.
  • State laws govern puppy adoption, with requirements ranging from 7 to 8 weeks old, and the Uniform Commercial Code protects buyers and sellers during transactions.
  • The article underscores the significance of the socialization stage for puppies, which happens between 3 to 12 weeks old, influencing their behavior and adaptability.
  • Early adoption at eight weeks old is recommended to prevent behavioral problems and establish bonding.
  • Puppies should only be sold when fully weaned, typically at 7 to 8 weeks old, for their well-being and development. The article also addresses common questions about puppy adoption.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Practicing small pets and equine veterinarian and junior teaching assistant in Veterinary Medicine.
Published on
Monday 23 January 2023
Last updated on
Monday 16 October 2023
At What Age Can Puppies Be Sold
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Puppies look adorable and cuddly. Let’s admit it. Whenever we see one, we can’t help but want to adopt it. Yet, before doing that, there are a few considerations to take note of. You’re not alone if you’re asking at what age puppies can be sold.

Discover the most current insights on when it’s the right age to rehome and adopt puppies in our comprehensive guide. In this article, we will explore the crucial considerations regarding the safe separation of puppies from their mothers, recent legal regulations, and the significance of socialization and weaning in a puppy’s development. Whether you’re a prospective pet owner or simply curious about the well-being of these adorable creatures, we will provide you with up-to-date information to ensure the best start for your new furry friend in 2023.

How Old Do Puppies Need To Be To Be Sold

Most vets recommend rehoming puppies when they’re at least 8 to 12 weeks old. Puppies are pretty much attached to their mothers. Aside from the milk they get from their moms, they also love the occasional grooming sessions. Moreover, adopting them very early can cause hassles since they’re very dependent on their mothers.

Problems With Early Separation

Puppies’ early separation can also cause problems in their psychological and physical growth. Well, without their moms, they may feel anxious and insecure about their surroundings. A study in 2017 supported that claim and stated that pets become aggressive when weaned early

Another research in 2016 explained that weaning is an essential aspect of a mammal’s life. Hence, when mammals undergo early weaning, they become less explorative in their environment, and they grow fearful in later life stages. As a result, vets recommend weaning and rehoming puppies at a proper age. 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to adopt a puppy. Yet, as future pet owners, we must know that buying and selling puppies put a strain on their behavior. It turns out that dogs that go away from their mothers before eight weeks suffer long-term side effects of submissive, aggressive, or antisocial behaviors

In general, puppies can leave their mom when they’re already physically strong and also no less than 8 weeks old. Well, the reason for that is pretty much simple. Further, after 8 weeks, puppies should be able to walk, run, and eat solid food. Hence they won’t need their mother’s assistance anymore. 

Behavioral Red Flags

Puppies go through various developmental stages, and understanding their behavior is crucial for a successful adoption process. Here, we will discuss the behaviors that suggest a puppy is socially and emotionally prepared to join your family. This knowledge will enable you to make a well-informed decision when choosing the right time to bring your new furry friend home. Understanding these behavioral red flags can lead to a smoother transition and a stronger bond between you and your puppy.

Laws & Regulations About Puppy Adoption 

As much as we want to adopt young puppies, well, first off, there are rules that we need to follow. We must understand that puppies look cute but weak and fragile. They’re bonded with their mothers and must not be separated very early. Further, the answer to that depends on the law.

Certain cities have very strict laws when it comes to puppy adoption. For instance, a total of 27 states in the US require that you should rehome all puppies when they’re 8 weeks old. Moreover, any younger than that is illegal and punishable by law. Well, the reason behind that is that the weaning process is usually complete during that stage. 

In addition, there are other laws that state you can take home a puppy when they’re at least 7 weeks old. For instance, Virginia laws state that it’s possible to rehome 7-week-old puppies, provided they have their moms. Further, another law also stated that as a citizen of Virginia, you can sell puppies when they’re below 7 weeks old as long as potential owners will only take the animals after they turn 7 weeks old. 

No rule prohibits people from adopting puppies. On the contrary, there are instances that the puppies have undisclosed medical conditions or have developed diseases within the first few days of rehoming. In that sense, your adoption is covered by the state’s Uniform Commercial Code. 

The Uniform Commercial Code is the list of laws and regulations protecting buyers and sellers during business transactions. In any way that an adopted puppy was proven defective, a merchant’s warranty may be available to compromise the situation. Further, you may want to look at the table below for the top 10 states and their laws that govern the age when puppies can be sold. 

StateLaws Regarding Puppy Adoption
AlabamaUpon adoption, puppies must be 8 weeks of age. At the same time, owners must sterilize their adopted puppy within 30 days of rehoming. 
NevadaPuppies should not be apart from their mothers before they’re 8 weeks old. 
CaliforniaAccording to the law, pet stores should only sell rescued dogs. Hence, the minimum age for rescued puppy adoption is 8 weeks old. 
IndianaMerchants can sell puppies under 8 weeks old as long that they have their mothers with them. 
KansasThe government allows the selling of puppies as long as their 8 weeks old and fully weaned. 
Georgia It’s legal to sell puppies as long as they’re 8 weeks old. Also, the government requires permits for owners who want over 4 dogs. 
Idaho The minimum age of puppies for adoption is 8 weeks old, as long as they already eat solid food. 
MainePuppies can be up for adoption at at least 7 weeks old. However, in terms of undisclosed medical conditions, owners can return them within 10 days. 
NebraskaOffers puppy adoption before 8 weeks of age and even without its mother. 
New YorkThe government allows the selling of puppies under 8 weeks old. Also, owners can’t return puppies that developed sickness within 14 days. 
Laws Regarding Puppy Adoption

Puppy Socialization Stage 

Dogs, like humans, need to socialize as well. Socialization is important because it teaches dogs how to be comfortable with people and their surroundings. It allows canines to act at ease without being fearful and anxious. Moreover, it prepares pets, whether cats or dogs, to become familiar with various sights, smells, and sounds. 

To be precise, socialization happens to dogs between 3 to 12 weeks old. This stage is also the most critical part of a puppy’s life. Well, what they experience during the socialization stage becomes imprinted for life. That means most of a dog’s learning happens throughout this time. 

Moreover, according to a study in 2017, each year, at least 30% of animals develop fearful and aggressive behavior due to failed socialization. As a result, dog pounds and rescue centers became the house for unwanted dogs with behavioral problems. 

In addition, there are two stages of socialization that all dogs need to complete. The first stage is the primary socialization period from 3 to 6 weeks, which refers to a puppy’s upbringing with his littermates. In contrast, the next stage is the human socialization phase at 7 to 12 weeks. Well, in this part, puppies learn how to get along with humans and familiarize their surroundings. 

Also, the part where dogs interact with humans is the most crucial stage of the two socialization periods. This is the phase where both owners and puppies can bond through daily walks, fun games, and the giving of treats. Thus, in the age range of 7 to 12 weeks old, puppies can be adopted and exposed to different situations.

Further, bringing a puppy home at eight weeks is still the best solution to prevent a dog’s behavioral issues. Well, come to think of it, at eight weeks old, that’s the peak of their human socialization stage. Hence, that’s the most ideal age to bond with a puppy and form lifelong experiences. 

The Weaning Stage 

The weaning stage is essential for all types of mammals, especially dogs. Weaning is transitioning a dog’s milk diet to solid food. This is the stage where they no longer depend on their mothers’ milk for nutrition; rather, they start to eat solid food to fill their tummies. 

Weaning usually happens when dogs are between 3 to 4 weeks old. This phenomenon occurs as a result of dogs growing their first set of teeth and their instincts telling them to try other food variations. Moreover, the weaning phase is also the start of more refined behavioral changes in dogs. 

The general rule is that you can only sell a puppy when they’re fully weaned. Weaned puppies are more capable of surviving under certain conditions than unweaned ones. They are more emotionally stable and don’t need motherly comfort. Also, they are easy to take care of since solid food is more accessible than milk. 

Before the rehoming process, ensure that the puppies are able to digest solid food. This prevents future problems such as loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. This also ensures that newly adopted puppies have more than a 50% chance of survival. 


In conclusion, the ideal age for rehoming and adopting puppies is very important. By considering crucial factors, legal regulations, and the importance of socialization and weaning, you can ensure the best start for your new furry friend in 2023. Remember that the well-being of puppies and their successful transition into your home depend on informed and responsible choices.

At What Age Can Puppies Be Sold: FAQs 

Getting a new puppy is not as easy as it seems. Further, you can read the frequently asked questions owners have about how old puppies have to be to sell them below. 

Can I rehome puppies at 6 weeks old? 

No, you can’t. The minimum age that puppies can be sold is at least 7 weeks old. Any younger than that is too risky and it may be punishable by state laws. Well, puppies under that age are fragile and not completely weaned. Hence, they’re prone to emotional and physical issues when they suddenly face a new environment. 

Can a puppy leave at 4 weeks?

No, it’s not possible. Most vets and breeders agree that the conventional answer as to what age you can sell puppies is at least 7 to 8 weeks old. Also, in other instances, many breeders even sell them a little later and the reason for that is to ensure complete development. 

Are 12 weeks too old to get a puppy?

11 to 12 weeks old is still a fine age to adopt a puppy. On the contrary, larger dog breeds don’t have to wait that long to be adopted. Generally, puppies should be 7 to 8 weeks old to leave their mom. 

Is it illegal to sell puppies before 8 weeks?

In some laws, it’s not. Yet, many people misunderstand the concept of how old should a puppy be adopted. To be precise, there are places that allow listing puppies for sale before 8 weeks, but prospective owners will only be allowed to get them once they reach 2 months or 8 weeks old. 

What is the best age to get a puppy from a breeder?

At 8 weeks old, puppies can be sold to ideal owners. Most vets and breeders formulated that age in accordance with puppies’ physical and emotional development. Any younger than that can hinder growth, and at the same time, a little later than 12 weeks old is the end of the socialization stage and may be quite difficult to handle. 

Owning puppies comes with great responsibility. Well, you can’t decide to adopt one without considering its age and proper development. Take note that puppies can only be sold when they’re at least 7 to 8 weeks old. Hence, if you’re really into adopting one, ensure that the puppy is fully weaned and in its socialization stage. 

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