Anyone considering a household pet as a gift this holiday season should take the time to carefully think the decision through, says a veterinarian at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

“The main concern with adopting dogs and cats over the holidays is that it is often an impulse decision, says Virginia Corrigan, an assistant professor of community practice in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. “Many pets are returned after the holidays several months later to the shelters for various reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that the puppy or kitten grew up and the family learned that they simply did not have the time and resources to properly care for that pet.”

Corrigan cautions anyone considering a pet as a gift to realize that adopting a pet should never be a surprise. There are many things to consider before bringing that pet home, including:

  • Does the person or family have a sustained interest and commitment in owning and caring for an animal companion?
  • Do they have the knowledge and resources to be able to provide for the pet's needs?
  • Will they bring that pet to the veterinarian regularly for its healthcare needs?
  • Do they have the time to commit to daily care, such as walking, bathing, grooming, and love and attention?

The holidays are a time of year when many of us are thinking of how we can help others, including animals in need.

“For the right person and situation, adopting an animal over the holidays may be a wonderful and life-changing gift, both for the person and for the pet,” says Corrigan.  “A nice option to consider is to provide a gift certificate for the cost of adoption of a pet, or simply donating to your local animal shelter in that person's name instead of bringing an unexpected pet home for the holidays.”

Read Virginia Corrigan’s bio

To secure a print or broadcast interview with Dr. Corrigan, contact Bill Foy by email at [email protected]; or by phone at 540-998-0288 or 540-231-8719.

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