The FOUR PAWS Model Solution for full traceability in the online puppy trade 

FOUR PAWS releases the Model Solution Report and introduces a pioneer system that excludes illegal puppy dealers from the online classifieds market


Countless puppies are cruelly bred every year, taken from their mothers too soon, illegally imported from Eastern Europe and anonymously sold online across the EU. New owners are frequently left to deal with sick puppies, and often high veterinary costs. FOUR PAWS has now developed a model solution that could finally enable full traceability of dogs and thereby exclude illegal puppy dealers from selling via online classifieds sites, their main channel to market. 

The model solution proposes an EU-wide alignment of mandatory pet microchipping with the registration of all people involved in a dog’s life. Based on this data, classified sites can instantly and automatically check ads selling puppies before approving them to go live – a crucial step towards disease prevention, consumer safety and protection of animal welfare. 

Anonymity remains a central problem of the online puppy trade: puppies are purchased on classified ad sites with little more than the click of a button, and the sellers, who only need an email address to place an ad, can disappear once the sale is made. However, the new EU Animal Health Law (AHL), coming into full force in 2021, will require all those involved in the breeding, sale and transport of puppies to register their establishments with their national authorities. With the introduction of the AHL, FOUR PAWS identified an additional opportunity to prevent illegal puppy dealers from selling on classified ad sites: The FOUR PAWS model solution proposes that every puppy is identified with a microchip and registered with its owner in a national pet database by a veterinarian. Then, only dogs with valid data can be advertised online. Moreover, the authorities will be able to identify all persons involved in a dog’s life. 

The report outlining this solution entitled “Tracing the Trade: The FOUR PAWS Model Solution for Full Traceability Across the EU Online Puppy Trade” can be downloaded via

Read our report here.