Two puppies seized by Customs inspectors at Dublin Port yesterday were too too young to be taken away from their mum, the DSPCA says.
The animal welfare charity is looking after the chihuahua crosses, and believes they're brother and sister and less than eight weeks old.
A man travelling to the UK with the dogs was stopped and questioned -- he didn't hold pet passports for the dogs.
Spokesperson Gillian Bird says illegal smuggling of animals across the Irish Sea can have serious implications for their welfare.
But she says the two pups are in good shape considering the circumstances.
"The pups are doing incredibly well. They're very cute little animals, it has to be said. Very young, they're just up to eight weeks of age, and very small -- and really much much too small to go through that long journey at the port -- and especially when they haven't had any vaccinations and are not microchipped."
"Eight weeks is about the limit of taking them off their mum, they're learning loads and loads of stuff so it's really important that pups stay with their parents for a decent amount of time. It is really quite a young age to be taking them from their mothers."