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If you haven't heard of dog flipping, you are not alone. Dog flipping is the act of purchasing dogs from backyard breeders, getting them as free to good home pets from websites or just downright stealing them before selling them to pet-seeking parents for a profit. Unlike house flipping or website flipping, dog flipping doesn't improve the animals in anyway, but instead hurts the animal in a number of different ways. This devious act has skyrocketed in recent years, but there is little authorities can do to stop it. The only way to prevent dog flipping is to not buy into it.

How do you spot a dog flipper?

The obvious first sign is someone selling on a Facebook group or on Craigslist that is posting an inordinate amount of dogs for sale. Even those selling a new litter of puppies will only use one ad for it or at least have the same dogs for sale over time.

The smarter dog flippers will at least use a different username, but even then the phone number and/or email address will be the same. These should be flagged and reported to the site or group staff.

For those selling a pet online, always charge a fee of at least $75 to $100 dollars. These deter the cheaper dog flippers. Someone who truly wants your pet can and should be able to pay for it.

Treat anyone interested in buying a pet like it is an interview. Ask them about what they do and why they want a dog as well as if they ever had a pet before and what happened to it. These are all standard questions on an application at animal control center, so they should be able to answer them in a quick and concise manner.

Avoid sob stories, flipper love them. They use them to both buy and sell dogs. Some flippers use the sad stories of others in order to get cheap dogs or they will peddle their own sad story about how they just lost their pet in order to get a new pet to flip.

Ask for veterinary records for the animal. This is the best way to assure the authenticity of a dog. Some people can be pretty disorganized, but they should at least have something. If nothing else, ask to meet them at their vet clinic to get the dog's microchip scanned before sale.

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