Warning over giving puppies as Christmas gifts

Puppies may seem the perfect Christmas present but some children lose interest in their gifts within an hour of getting them.

More than half of parents polled said their children got bored with their main present in less than four weeks with 60% losing interest within six months.

And 17% of parents aged 16-24 said it took less than an hour for their child to lose interest in their Christmas gifts last year.

But parents in this younger age group were twice as likely to consider

buying a dog as a gift than those twice their age, according to the OnePoll survey of 3,000 British parents.

The Dogs Trust warned parents to resist "pester power" and think carefully before buying.

Chief executive Clarissa Baldwin, creator of the famous slogan A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, said it was wrong to buy pets "on a whim".

She said: "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.

"It is disturbing to think that festive decorations may last longer in the home than some dogs bought for Christmas."

The charity's 17 centres will not rehome dogs from December 19 to January 2 to discourage people from buying them thoughtlessly.

Pressures to get the perfect gift mean many parents see dogs as an easy option without considering important factors like cost.

A Dogs Trust spokesman said: "A last minute puppy purchase may seem like a quick way to fill that gap and complete the family unit but we would urge people to plan for a dog as they would any other life-long commitment."

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