Dogs Trust had a 58% spike in surrender requests last Christmas

With just weeks to go until Christmas, Dogs Trust is urging people to 'paws for thought' before getting a puppy.

It says last year, 12,549 dogs entered its Irish pounds - with 1,522 of them being "needlessly destroyed".

The charity also had a 58% spike in surrender requests after last Christmas.

It has also posted some paw prints around the streets of Dublin, with the hashtag #PawsForThought.

This was created using clean graffiti to represent owners that wash their hands of owning a dog.

It says 756 people contacted them within the first three months after Christmas last year to relinquish their dogs - compared to 479 in the same period the previous year.

Lucy is pictured at Ashton Dog Pound in Dublin | Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Dogs Trust say it is to remind people that 'A Dog is for life, not just for Christmas'.

While its sister charity in the UK says some people can be drawn into the illegal puppy trade by unknowingly purchasing an illegally imported dog.

The warning comes after nearly 100 puppies were seized in just one week in Britain during a covert operation.

The charity says this is "just the tip of the iceberg", as many more are expected to be smuggled undetected in the run up to Christmas.

It says dealers import 'designer' breeds such as Pug puppies, Dachshund puppies, French Bulldog puppies, English Bulldog puppies and Chow Chow puppies. 

Pups are separated from their mothers when they are weeks old because they look smaller and cuter, and can be sold for lots of money - especially in the weeks before Christmas.

It has a number of pointers for those meeting your puppy for the first time:

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions: Always ask about their age, microchip, worming and vaccinations, as well as their feeding
  • Take a copy of the puppy contract with you as it gives you guidance on the information your breeder should be giving
  • Puppies should not leave their mum until they are eight weeks old
  • Puppies should have clean eyes, ears and bottom. They should be bright and lively, and keen to interact