Things to consider when trading animals on Trade Me

Trade Me has an Animal Code of Welfare, check it out before buying a pet. MPI also have some tips

19 March 2021

Here's a guest post by the Ministry of Primary Industries that shares some things to consider when buying or selling animals on Trade Me.

Obviously, it's really important that members bear these points in mind when trading in animals so a big thanks from Trade Me to MPI for putting this post together.

Things to consider when buying or selling animals on Trade Me

It’s very easy to get excited with the thought of bringing a new pet into your home.

But it is also important to ensure that your new animal remains healthy during the move from its old home to its new one.

There are many different types of animals bought and sold on Trade Me and both buyers and sellers need to know how to properly care for the animal that they are trading, as well as their legal obligations to maintain its health and welfare.

You should also check that the animal has come from a good home and that you're satisfied it has been well socialized, this is particularly for dogs.

Age of sale

Obviously you want your new pet to be healthy. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that a new pet has had enough time with its mother in order to develop properly, before being placed in its new home.

Puppies, kittens and 'rabbit kittens' need to be at least 8 weeks of age before being sold in order to be properly developed.

The buyer should ensure that any new pup, kitten or rabbit that they are planning to purchase is over this age.



  • Unless your cat is to be used for breeding purposes, it is recommended that they are de-sexed, before or at puberty, to prevent unwanted breeding.
  • Micro chipping your cat may prove invaluable in helping to reunite you with you cat, should it stray a little too far from home.
  • More information on your legal obligations and how to care for your new cat or kitten can be found in the Code of Welfare (Cats) 2007.
  • If you are buying or adopting a cat or dog that you've found on Trade Me, consider getting the animal from a member who meets our own Code of Welfare.

Birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats & mice

All these species of animal have their own particular needs, which need to be met in order to keep them healthy. It’s important that buyers have a good knowledge of how to care for the particular animal they are buying.

Reading books on animal care, researching your new pet on the web, or contacting organisations with specialist knowledge on your new pet will help settle them into your family with greater ease.

Exotic animals

If you are looking to buy a pet that is a little ‘different’ from other people’s pets, be aware that many exotic animals have particular requirements to keep them healthy and may need specialist veterinary treatment should they become ill.

This means that many exotic animals can be expensive and time consuming.

Some types of pets may have restrictions on their import or trade in New Zealand as they may pose a biosecurity risk should they escape.

Make sure you have done your homework thoroughly and are able to properly care for your new pet before you consider purchasing an exotic species of animal.


Many different species of livestock are sold on Trade Me and whether you are thinking of buying a couple of hens or a herd of cattle, it is important to be aware of your legal obligations and any relevant codes of welfare.

Codes of welfare have been developed for sheep and beef cattle, layer hens and meat chickens, dairy cattle, goats, pigs and deer.


Trade Me would like to remind members that we have our own Code of Animal Welfare and a buyer's checklist when considering taking on a companion animals.

Here's another cute puppy that belongs to one of the Trust and Safety team, Bailey.

About the author: Brought to you by the Ministry for Primary Industries to help spread the word about good animal care