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Pet ‘fashion victims’ on the rise, warns Blue Cross

18 Feb 2014

From Game of Thrones inspired wolf-like breeds to the pocket-sized pooches frequently spotted with their famous owners, the type of pets abandoned at rehoming centres increasingly mirrors the latest film or celebrity trend. 

As London Fashion Week reaches its finale, Blue Cross is reminding people that pets are a passion, not a fashion.

In recent years, we have spotted an unmistakable pattern in fashionable breeds being given up once the trend has passed. 

Our rehoming centres have seen a five-fold increase in the number of wolf-like breeds such as huskies given up following the success of the Twilight films, and a steady year on year increase in “handbag dogs”. 

New celebrity favourite, the French bulldog, could be the next pet fashion victim. Although numbers of this latest fashionista’s favourite being given up are still small, we have already taken in two in recent weeks, compared to just five in total over the last five years.

Mandy Jones, Head of Rehoming for Blue Cross, says: “Sadly, the ‘have-it-now’ attitude of today’s consumer society seems to be the same whether you are buying a handbag or a dog. 

“Copying your favourite celebrity’s hairstyle is one thing, but we really urge people to put a lot more thought into getting a new pet – we see so many animals given up because their owners didn’t realise how much time and effort it takes to care for them.” 

Passion not fashion 

Blue Cross is calling on owners to make a pledge that their pets are a passion and not for fashion by posting a picture of themselves with their pet on Twitter. 

We hope it will spread the message that pets are more than just an accessory.

Mandy adds: “Even though they are small and cute, French bulldogs, like all dogs, still need exercise and training - a lot more work than a pair of shoes! 

“If you are inspired by a celebrity pet, please make sure you do your research first to make sure you have the time and lifestyle for a pet and that they are the right one for you.”

Please spread the message on Twitter on Tuesday 18 February – Use the hashtag #PassionNotFashion and tweet us at @The_Blue_Cross with a photo of you and your pet, telling us why your pet is more than just an accessory.

Download your very own pledge board to use in your photo here. 

Top pet trends

1. Handbag dogs – mini pooches that fit in your “it” bag, made popular by Paris Hilton and Britney, still popular with celebs worldwide. The number of little dogs including chihuahuas, pugs and pomeranians being given up has more than doubled in the last five years.

2. Status staffies - particularly popular in urban areas, the staffie has sadly become our most unwanted pet. The number of unwanted staffies at Blue Cross centres has increased by a massive 85 per cent since 2008

3. Film star pets - while the Twilight saga has triggered a passion for dogs that look like wolves, it’s not the first film to spawn a pet trend. The demand for clownfish went up after Finding Nemo in 2003. Owl sanctuaries even reported a rise in abandoned snowy owls following the Harry Potter films.

4. The royal effect - 2012 was a bumper year for the royals – the Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee and Kate and Wills adopted cocker spaniel, Lupo. Sadly, by the end of the year, Blue Cross had taken in 102 unwanted cocker spaniels, more than double the year before. 

5. Novelty pets - from micro-pigs to pygmy hedgehogs, the rise in online sales has made keeping up with new exotic pet trends much easier. These animals often need very specialist care and are sadly abandoned when owners can’t meet their needs. Blue Cross has been working as part of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group to introduce Minimum Standards for the sale of pets online.

Fashionable pet lovers can help Blue Cross by donating high quality vintage and designer clothing and accessories to The Clothes Line, using a free courier service. All proceeds raised go towards the care of sick and homeless pets. Visit www.theclothesline.org.uk to find out how it works.