Teckels Animal Sanctuary is drilling home the age-old message – a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.
Every year loved ones across the country buy a cute little puppy or kitten for their partners or children, much to their delight.
But when the honeymoon period is over, the vet bills begin to stack up, little pets get pregnant, and a few months down the line, hundreds of animals get dumped on recreation grounds or tied and left at bus shelters.
Teckels, based in Whitminster, experience this very occurrence every year.
Chloe Webb, assistant manager at the charity, said: “It is usually around June or July time when we start to see the effects of Christmas.
“That is when the cute little fluffy little puppies and kittens have matured a bit, got a bit bigger, and are no longer what the owner wants.
“They are often brought in as strays after being dumped in various places, and they are often pregnant which means rather than having one young dog on our hands, we’ve soon got 10 to rehome.”
The advice for anyone thinking of buying their loved one a pet for Christmas is simple.
“Make sure you have thought it through and make sure the person you are buying it for knows about it,” added Chloe.
“It is always a great idea for a present, but when you add up food costs, vaccinations, microchipping, getting them spayed, it is expensive.
“It needs to be a thought-out decision and the person receiving it needs to be happy about it.”
Sue Webster, from Churchdown, got a rescue Labrador three weeks ago.
She said: “We had thought about getting a dog for a long time, it wasn’t a sudden decision.
“I don’t understand why people buy pets as gifts, it doesn’t make sense. You need to invest a lot of time and effort.
“And they don’t stay cute puppies for long, they are big dogs before you know it!”
Defra has also issued advice before Christmas asking people to think twice about buying a pet.
A spokesman said: “Please think twice about getting a pet for someone as a gift. This is a commitment which will last the life of the animal, and you need to be sure the person is able to care for the animal for years to come.
“Would the person be able to provide for its needs? Is the size of the house the animal will live in suitable? Will the owner have enough time and money to invest in the cat or dog?
“Dogs need regular exercise and socialising to ensure they are happy and healthy. They can suffer from separation anxiety when they’re left alone for long periods of time. If the new owner is away from home they won’t be able to give the pet the time and attention it deserves.
“Did you know that it can cost up to £30,000 to keep a dog over its lifetime?”
For more information people can call Teckels on 01452 740300.