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Unwanted dogs at Christmas

3rd December 213 mins
By Toucan

Unwanted dogs at Christmas

Christmas is the time of year where your social media timeline might be full of videos of gorgeous new puppies. They’re hard to resist as children and adults alike burst into happy tears at the sight of an adorable four-legged friend. As cute as they are, these videos hide a dark side to Christmas pets. Dogs are a lot of work, not just something to buy on a whim, right? 

We can all recite the well-known statement from Dogs Trust: “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas." It won’t be long before that puppy in those videos starts barking and chewing furniture, and the realities of new pet parenthood set in. 

It turns out that some people do not quite get that message, with the charity reporting they receive calls every six minutes over unwanted Christmas pets. It is clear that people are still buying dogs without giving it serious thought first. 

Searches online for puppies for sale often increase significantly in the run-up to Christmas, indicating that many prospective buyers plan to get a puppy during the festive period or even give a puppy as a present. 

There are so many things to consider when getting a dog for yourself, let alone for someone else. Can they afford a dog? Do they want a dog? Do they have the proper conditions to raise a dog? Do they have time for a dog? A lot goes into raising a puppy, and sometimes these details can be overlooked when deciding to get someone else a dog for Christmas. 

This still happens despite the prominent warnings from all UK animal charities not to give pets as presents. Many rehoming shelters also suspend adoptions during December so that dogs and puppies are not gifted, ensuring they go to loving homes and will not end up back at the rescue centre in the following weeks or months. 

Rescue centres can often get overwhelmed in the aftermath of Christmas. Online searches for people wanting to give up their dogs peak in January, with many dogs returned to rescue centres in the first few months of the year when their owners realise far too late they can’t commit to nurturing and caring for them. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, as fundraising events have been postponed or cancelled. This has meant that rescue shelters are at capacity but are also struggling to keep the animals they look after fed and cared for. In a survey undertaken by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH), nearly 40% of rescue centres reported an income drop of more than 50%. 

Never fear though, Christmas is not ruined! You can still bring some Christmas puppy cheer into your life and avoid contributing to the issue. Why not explore volunteering at a local rescue centre, where you can have puppy time without lifelong commitment and also do a good deed?

Several charities support unwanted dogs at Christmas, and all year round, such as Dogs TrustRSPCA, and Blue Cross. By donating to these charities or your local animal charity, you can help them provide life-changing care and forever homes for hundreds of dogs. Plus, donating to charity has never been easier with Toucan. It is simple, hassle-free, and the power to make a change is within your hands. 

Dogs are not disposable items, and treating them as one must come to an end.  

Consider alternative Christmas gifts and ways to make your Christmas sustainable.

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