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How long is a dog for? (All together now - "Life!")

If it's the thought that counts at Christmas, the thinking about dogs should be that they don't make good presents. It's too busy a time of year to be able to devote the necessary time to settling in a puppy. But don't take my word for it, here's what Dogs Trust have to say on the matter:


Dogs Trust reveals the shocking 'lifespan' of festive gifts

New research carried out by Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, has revealed that 1 in 5 parents would still consider buying their child a dog for Christmas. With the average Christmas present lasting just four weeks before being discarded by its bored recipient, the charity fears that puppies bought for Christmas will experience a similar fate and is urging people to 'think life' when taking on a dog.

The OnePoll survey, involving 3,000 parents across the UK showed that:

  1. 53% of parents admitted that last year it took less than four weeks for their child to tire of their main Christmas present
  2. Parents aged 16-24 are twice as likely to consider buying a dog as a gift than those twice their age
  3. Parents aged 16-24 are also the most likely to say that their child had asked for a dog as a present, and the most likely to give into pester power when buying their child’s main Christmas present
  4. 17% of parents aged 16-24 revealed that it took less than an hour for their child to lose interest in their Christmas gifts last year


Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin, who coined the well-known slogan 'A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas' over 30 years ago, says:

"We are concerned that dogs bought as gifts this Christmas will become victims of festive fatigue. As consumers we seem to have grown accustomed to impulse purchases, but when you apply that 'buy now, think later' mentality to dog ownership, the end result is very often a troubling picture of abandonment. Sharing your life with a dog is one of the most rewarding things you can do, so it saddens us to see people buying dogs on a whim, sometimes based on looks alone, and then thinking lightly of that responsibility."

To help discourage people from thoughtlessly buying dogs as Christmas presents, the charity’s 17 Rehoming Centres will stop rehoming dogs from 19th December to 2nd January. People will still be able to visit the centres and reserve a dog, but will not be able to take it home until the New Year.

Clarissa Baldwin adds: "Too often dogs are not thought of as a life-long commitment, but rather as accessories that can be discarded or replaced. It is disturbing to think that festive decorations may last longer in the home than some dogs bought for Christmas – it is simply unacceptable to toy with a dog's future in this way."

For more information on Dogs Trust visit or call 020 7837 0006.

Case study - Tiny Tim
One-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Tiny Tim, was lucky to survive after he was tossed aside and left to fend for himself in sub-zero temperatures last December. He was brought back to health by staff at Dogs Trust Leeds and this year will be spending his first Christmas in a loving home.

This year Dogs Trust has cared for over 16,000 stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs.  Every year hundreds of Christmas present pups and older dogs are abandoned. Some, like Tiny Tim, are taken to rehoming organisations such as Dogs Trust and go on to find loving new homes, but many others are not as lucky. 


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