VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital

What to do when you can no longer take care of a pet

Published: Jan 21, 2013

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Pet loss is never a pleasant experience, but it doesn't always mean that a pet has passed away. Sometimes, an owner is forced to give up a pet because he or she can no longer provide the care that the animal needs. If this sounds like a familiar circumstance, you must think carefully about how you will find a new home where your animal companion can thrive.

Reasons for giving up a pet
When you adopt an animal, you should plan on keeping that pet for his entire lifespan. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances may interfere with your ability to be a full-time pet owner. For example, you may meet a new partner who is severely allergic to cats, or perhaps you've received a promotion at your job that will require you to move overseas or to a location where pets are not allowed. If you truly cannot think of a way around your circumstance, then it may be best to find a new home for your animal companion.

Think twice about your decision
Owning a pet isn't always easy, but part of being a successful companion to an animal is working through any challenges that may arise. It's unacceptable to get rid of a pet simply because he has become a mild inconvenience, so it's important to keep your head up during the difficult times, such as puppy training or when your cat has diarrhea. If your pet has a medical issue that is costly, then you may want to look into pet insurance to help cover his bills instead of deciding to get rid of the animal outright.

Finding a new home
If you have decided that there's simply no way you can keep your animal companion, then it's your responsibility to find him a new and loving home. There are several ways to go about this. First, you may want to reach out to family and friends who would make good pet owners, especially if they already have a relationship with your animal. If this isn't an option, then you can get in touch with a local animal shelter to inquire about foster family services, or simply ask them to list your pet as available for adoption. Some owners may choose to list their animal on websites like, but if you take this route, make sure you interview prospective adopters to make sure they know how to properly care for an animal.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care


VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital is here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can count on our critical care team to be here when you need them the most.

Your pet's health deserves the finest care. Each member of our team strives for the advancement of veterinary medicine. When you bring your pet to us, you can be certain you will receive the dedication and compassion that makes our hospital stand out in patient care. 

Please call us at 703-823-3601 immediately if you believe your pet is experiencing an emergency.

Find out what might constitute an Emergencyor read more about our Services.