An image in the shop’s festive gift guide features a child dashing past a blackboard with a scrawled message which reads: “All I want for Christmas is a puppy”
Tesco’s Facebook page has been bombarded with compaints from hundreds of shoppers – many who say they have abandoned the store over the ad.
The Dogs Trust – which created the iconic slogan ‘A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas’ 35 years also got involved in the row.
A spokesman said: “Dogs Trust is incredibly disappointed to see the latest Tesco Magazine which shows a background image of a blackboard with the words ‘All I want for Christmas is a puppy’
“The charity’s iconic slogan is 35 years old this Christmas but is sadly still as relevant today.
“We know many children would put a pup on their Xmas list so we spend a considerable amount of time, money and effort reminding parents about the commitment and responsibility owning a dog entails.”
The RSPCA added: “We would remind any parents wanting to get any animal as a present that pets are a lifelong commitment and would need a responsible adult to care for him or her.
“Careful consideration would be needed to ensure the animal would be loved for life and not just a short-term novelty.”
Customer Lesley Waugh wrote on Facebook: “I’m no longer a Tesco shopper after seeing their ad. Substantial donations to small rescues will get my custom back.”
Lou Benney added: “Tesco, why an earth did you think it was a good idea to advertise getting a puppy for xmas?
“A dog is for life, and rescues are full of dogs needing their forever homes, and no doubt that some of these poor dogs were once someone’s xmas puppy.” Clive Rowley said the promo picture was “sickening”.
He wrote: “Tesco’s current drive to incite children to ask for “a puppy for christmas” is just sickening.
“Uninformed people will buy a puppy, many of which will end up being put to sleep once the excitement of having a puppy wears off.”
Charlotte Sankey said the advert jeopardised the hard work of animal charities.
She wrote: “Animal charity’s have been working hard for years to get the message across a dog is for life not just for Christmas.
“Rescue homes are overrun with unwanted dogs as it is and in January will be with the extra puppies that have been bought as presents at Christmas.
“Thousands of dogs are put to sleep each year because homes can’t be found.
“I think you are thoughtless and irresponsible and need to rethink your advert. I will now be shopping elsewhere.” The image appears on page 36 of the new Tesco Gift Guide which is available now in stores.
A spokeswoman from Tesco apologised for the magazine and said it was not supposed to encourage people to buy pets from Christmas.
She said: “We’re sorry that some people have taken offence at a picture in our magazine.
“It was not our intention to encourage people to buy dogs for Christmas.
Were you offended by Tesco’s Christmas advert? Comment below and let us know.