It's become fairly common knowledge now that January typically sees divorce rates soar in the UK, as the combination of stress over the holiday period and the winter blues pushes relationships to breaking point.

And while many people are often hurt when relationships fall apart, sometimes it's easy to forget the effect that the fallout from divorce can have on our canine companions.

Kennel Club figures have revealed that January is one of the busiest months for dog rescue centres in the UK, with the most common reason that pooches need to be re-homed in 2013 being divorce.

The organisation believes that dogs are often the unwitting and innocent victims of relationship break-ups, left without a home because neither partner is willing or able to look after the pooch following a break-up.

Carolyne Poulton from Labrador Retriever Rescue Scotland points out that the problem could well be exasperated by the fact that many people believe that buying a puppy could help save a relationship by papering over the cracks.

"This puts too much pressure and expectation on the new puppy, and if the relationship fails, the puppy ends up needing to find a new owner," she explained.

"Sadly, too often puppies are seen as a commodity nowadays, with little thought to these cute little puppies taking up time and effort with training."

With many rescue homes struggling to cover the costs of dry dog food and other care costs, the Kennel Club is urging people to think carefully before taking on the responsibility of a pooch, in an effort to reduce the number of animals left homeless this year.

"People purchasing a dog, whilst in an unstable relationship, should ask themselves, 'what would happen if we broke up?' If the answer is give up the dog, then please put off getting a dog until you are in a more secure situation."

Written by: Hannah