Dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, is urging the public not to buy or give dogs as presents, as statistics show online searches for puppies have increased by 44% in the countdown to Christmas.
The charity’s plea comes as it launches its first ever Christmas TV advert, which features a puppet dog who “brings to life the message” of the charity’s slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.”
Dogs Trust has revealed that it received one call every six minutes from people wanting to “give up their dog.” While people give up their dogs for multiple reasons, the charity is encouraging people to make sure they are ready for the commitment.
Research found that the phrase “buy a puppy” increased by 44% from 95,659 to 137,499 a week before Christmas last year, compared to the yearly average and the phrase “get a dog” increased by nearly 27% two weeks before Christmas, resulting in 357,779 online searches being increased to 452,656.
The charity also found that searches for people wanting to give up their dog also peaked in january.
Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust chief executive, said: “ “These figures show that people still think to buy a dog in the rush before Christmas. It’s very easy to pick a puppy at the click of a button but dogs don’t come with a gift receipt.
“We take calls all-year-round from people who feel they have no choice but to give up their dog. It can be heart-breaking, even if an owner knows they are doing the right thing. Dog ownership is wonderful, and we aren’t saying don’t get a dog, we’re just asking that people are sure they are ready for the long-term commitment that comes with it.
He added: “We hope this year our message ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ comes across loud and clear.”