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Adopting a pet? Here's how to make a perfect match


(BPT) - Spring is a great time to consider adding a furry friend to your household! Bringing a pet into your home is one of the best decisions you can make to enrich your life, with three quarters of pet parents reporting mental health improvements from pet ownership. With more than six million animals currently in rescue agencies or shelters in the U.S., adopting a pet will open your home to an animal in need and bring you untold amounts of joy and well-being. It's easy to fall in love with an adorable dog or cat, especially if they have backstories that pull at your heart strings. But as tempting as it is to take home the first sweet face you see, it's not a decision to make lightly.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, 40% of adopted pets are returned to shelters within the first year. That's why some careful forethought can help your home be a permanent one for your new best friend. Here are six things to consider to help you find a companion that is the perfect match:

Compatibility with your Lifestyle: Before you choose a pet, think about your lifestyle and choose a pet with a temperament and personality that fits. Are you looking for a cuddle buddy for movie nights or a running partner? Do you work from home or are you in the office five days a week? Do you have young children or teenagers? A young, active husky might not be the best choice for someone who is away most of the day, while an older cat might enjoy quiet and solitude. A rambunctious dog might be too much for young kids, while teens might love to play with them in the backyard.

Preparing for Expenses: Budgeting for pet care is the best way to make sure you're not surprised by the expenses necessary to keep your new family member healthy and happy. Think about vet visits, yearly vaccinations, food, day care, dental cleanings, grooming and more. There's also a chance pet parents could face surprise costs like treatment for an injury or surgery. These costs can add up over time, Synchrony’s Pet Lifetime of Care Study shows it can be as much as $55,000 during a pet’s lifetime. But there are ways to be ready for these costs.

Many pet parents have a credit card specifically for pet expenses, such as Synchrony’s CareCredit. CareCredit is a health and wellness credit card that empowers families to pay over time for pet care with flexible, budget-friendly financing options. CareCredit can be for all types of veterinary and pet care from routine exams and vaccinations to illness and injuries, nutrition and prescriptions and even microchipping, boarding, training and other expenses. Having a solution to manage costs can give your financial peace of mind through every stage of your pet’s life.

Puppy or Kitten vs. Adult Pet: If you work outside of the home most of the time, a puppy or kitten can be challenging but not impossible. Young animals need a lot of supervision, training and attention as they discover the world — and get to know you and your household. It takes time and attention to help them grow into well-mannered adults. If you don’t have those, consider adopting an adult pet that’s already house trained, crate trained, leash ready or can manage being alone. Be sure to ask these types of questions when you are at your chosen place of adoption.

Allergies in Your Household: If someone in your home is allergic to dogs or cats, careful consideration should be made. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a furry friend only to discover you or a child is constantly sneezing. However, there are certain breeds that are hypoallergenic that might be the ideal fit.

Living Situation: Do you live in an apartment? What floor is it on? Is there easy access to outdoor spaces or a dog park? Does your home have a fenced-in yard to keep them safe? What are the rules for pets if you’re renting? It’s important to keep all of these things in consideration when adding a pet to your life and living space. It’s not always the size of the pet that matters most, it’s the size of your commitment to making to work for you and the animals.

Considering all the elements of pet ownership before you bring your furry friend home will help ensure it's a perfect match from the start — and for a lifetime.

To learn more about how CareCredit can help you be financially prepared to care for your new family member, and to find a vet near you that accepts CareCredit, visit their website www.carecredit.com.