Charity Dogs Trust has more than 16,000 dogs cared for at its 18 UK centres (Dogs Trust)
Charity Dogs Trust has more than 16,000 dogs in care at its 18 homes in Britain (Dogs Trust)

Excuses such as "my dog doesn't match the sofa" and "he keeps scaring the goldfish" are some of the reasons owners give to return their pets, an animal charity has revealed.

Animal welfare charity Dogs Trust said it has cared for more than 16,000 dogs in its 18 UK centres this year as it gears up for the usual Christmas pet message.

Its A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas campaign has been launched for the 34th year to make people think carefully about the commitment required to own a pet.

The campaign discourages giving animals as presents. The trust does not rehome any dogs between December 22 and 29, or until January 2 at centres in Scotland.

At the launch of its campaign, the trust listed some of the more trivial reasons it has been given for owners wanting to find a new home for their new dog.

"He wouldn't fit in my handbag or wear the outfit I bought him," was one. "He isn't as cute as when I first got him", "He keeps passing wind", and "He can't do any tricks" are other regular excuses.

At the charity's centre in West Calder, West Lothian, one owner even gave back a pet was because it smelled "of dog".

George Paparakis, assistant manager at Glasgow's rehoming centre, said that while many people give up their pets for genuine reasons, others do so because they had not thought carefully enough about the demands of keeping them.

"Sometimes there are real reasons why dogs have to come in to us, but it can get quite frustrating when people perhaps don't truly understand what it means to live with a dog.

"It just highlights the importance of doing research and thinking about the dog that you're taking before actually committing to it."

Other reasons for returning dogs include complaints about snoring, hogging attention, age and "stopped bringing the owner joy".

Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin added: "Dogs can provide a world of happiness and enjoyment, and we urge anyone considering a new addition to the family to think it through properly."