Dogs Trust is suspending rehoming and adoptions this Christmas after recording a 30% rise in numbers surrendering pets after the festive season.
The Dublin-based charity has dealt with 2,840 requests to surrender dogs so far this year – with 897 received in the first three months of 2018 and 334 in January alone.
According to the charity, the most common reason given for “buyer’s remorse” was that owners didn’t have enough time to look after them.
Executive director Suzie Carley said: “Each year we are saddened and worried by the number of people looking to relinquish their dog, especially in the first few months after Christmas.
“Dogs Trust coined the phrase ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ 40 years ago and sadly it is still as relevant today as it was then.
“Owning a dog is a long-term commitment so we are urging people to wait and take due consideration at any time of the year but especially when thinking of getting a dog for Christmas.”
She added: “We hope that by spreading this message that it will encourage people to wait and consider adding a dog to their family in the New Year instead, after the festivities have died down.
“We would encourage those who have made the decision to get a dog, to consider adopting from your local rescue centre, local pound or Dogs Trust and give a rescue dog the best second chance in life.
“We receive a large number of surrender requests each day and we are unable to help everyone.
“With limited space, we need to prioritise taking in dogs from the local authority pounds as these dogs are at risk of being put to sleep.
“We also endeavour to take in vulnerable surrender dogs whenever possible,” she said.
Adoptions from the Dogs Trust’s Rehoming Centre are suspended until January 5 “to prevent people rushing out to get a dog for Christmas”.
The organisation also warned that the festive season is the worst time for a pet to be re-homed as dogs, and especially puppies, should be introduced to houses at a quiet time to facilitate training and socialisation.
The organisation is also urging dog lovers to sponsor their Puppy Play Groups so they can do their bit for canine pals at www.dogstrust.ie/sponsor.