Families who are planning to buy a puppy in the days before Christmas “need to use caution”, the USPCA has warned.
David Wilson from the animal cruelty organisation said families “need to make sure they are getting the right dog to suit their lifestyles”.
“The right pet is very rewarding, but it has to be right,” he said.
“Its lifestyle and requirements have to match yours. That is why a serious number of dogs end up on the scrap heap.”
He said that “many dogs can end up with dog wardens in mid-January” when families go back into their everyday routine.
“When people realise you can’t just park them in the living room or the kitchen for the day when everyone is out and find the place as you left it, with curtains shredded or a hole in the sofa, then dogs are dumped.
“That happens when the dog gets bored. It needs to be properly trained and that cannot happen if you are not there.”
Mr Wilson added another mistake families make is buying a pup off the internet, without carrying out checks.
“First of all before paying a deposit on a pup they see on the internet, people need to make sure the animal exists and they aren’t being duped out of money for non-existent animals.
“They also need to know what age the dog is and if they have had proper veterinary treatment. An awful lot of these animals are diseased.
“This is the time of year that people are duped and there are people out to get you.
“ So you need to be very careful that you are buying a fit and healthy animal.”
Mr Wilson added that unwanted dogs end up with dog wardens throughout the Province who “try to rehome them”.
“But around 2,000 dogs are put down every year because they are unwanted. It is unnecessary.”