“HE didn’t like being dressed up” and “he didn’t match my furniture” were just some of the reasons people gave up their dogs last Christmas.

Dogs Trust Salisbury received a total of 259 calls (one call every five minutes) in the week immediately after Christmas, and eight calls a day for the next month, from people looking to give up their dog.

The Newton Tony-based rehoming centre is now preparing itself for another influx of unwanted dogs, and urging people to remember the charity’s slogan: A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

Some of the reasons given for getting rid of a dog at Christmas included:

  • He ate meat and we are vegetarian
  • He didn’t like it when we tried to dress him up
  • He doesn’t match our furniture
  • She sleeps in her own dog bed all night – I thought she would want to sleep in my bed
  • He is always staring at me – even when I am eating
  • I won a free holiday and couldn't take my dogs with me
  • I got him as a secret Santa present
  • She was too friendly and wanted to greet every dog and human we met on a walk
  • He was panting too much
  • Now he has lost weight he is too energetic
  • She grew bigger than we thought she would
  • If I'd known anything about beagles, I wouldn't have got one
  • I had to spend an hour a day hovering as he shed so much hair
  • She wags her tail far too much

A new survey by Dogs Trust revealed that 22 per cent of Wiltshire dog owners spend less than two weeks researching before buying a dog.

Tery Laffin, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Salisbury said the number of dogs given up last year was “so sad”, adding: “Dogs deserve to be treated as a member of the family.”

Tery said: “They aren’t disposable commodities; they are a huge commitment and should be for life. It’s particularly hard for staff when they see dogs handed in simply because their owner’s bought them on a whim and consider them little more than toys to be discarded when the novelty wears off.

“We really hope this Christmas is the year our nation of animal lovers finally takes heed of our slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and we don’t see dogs discarded because their owners have not considered the lifetime commitment of dog ownership.”