MADISON, Wis. -

The Wisconsin state veterinarian is encouraging people not to give pets as gifts this holiday season.

Dr. Yvonna Bellay says giving a pet as a gift is a serious commitment and should never be a surprise. She is issuing her warning as shoppers prepare to hit stores in a big way on Friday.

Bellay says even if someone wants a pet, it's better to delay bringing them home until after the chaotic holiday season.

Bellay says another problem is that people often choose species or breeds during the holidays that are a fad. Those pets often end up in animal shelters a few months later.

Bellay suggests giving pet supplies and other material during the holidays, and hold off on the pet itself until January.