Dogs are truly man’s best friend. They’ve been an inseparable part of our lives for as long as humans have congregated together. Indeed, two separate domestication events occurred in Europe and Asia about 16,000 and 14,000 years ago, respectively. Today, families love the company that a furry friend can provide, but before going out to get a dog there are a few things that you must consider.

1. Adopt, don’t shop.

Many people are opting to adopt their new pup rather than buying him or her from a breeder. Adopted dogs make a fantastic addition to any family and large and small dogs alike can be found in shelters and with charities all around the United States and beyond. Some 1.6 million dogs are adopted from U.S. animal shelters each year, and these pets come to represent a huge part of those families' lives in short order.

Shelter animals and those living with charity organizations are in need of a good home. Some come from abusive backgrounds or were bred continuously during the early years of life. These pups have so much love to offer and can make a family’s life that much better once they find their forever home.

2. Understand the necessities you’ll need to purchase.

No matter where your furry friend comes from, a new dog owner will have to purchase a lease, dog harness, durable collar, and many other necessities in order to complete the transformation into a dog owner. Searching for the “best dog harness” is a great place to start when bringing home a large dog or small dog for the first time. A dog harness that includes padding and reflective strips, is lightweight, and can easily slip on and off of the dog's neck when unclipped is a great addition for any family. A pull harness is a great option for those who have a pooch who hasn’t quite gotten the hang of walking nicely as well.

No matter your dog’s size, you’ll likely need a couple of durable leashes, harnesses, and collars. This is because a growing dog will likely chew on these essentials or grow out of them altogether! A dog harness for your puppy needs to be measured to the dog's body. Adjustable straps are a great start when seeking to prevent discomfort in your dog's neck and chest. Multiple adjustment points are also crucial for ensuring the best fit that also incorporates durable material that's sure to hold up to the elements.

3. Think about your dog’s feeding needs.

Families of younger dogs will want to feed their pooch on a three-meal schedule while older dogs likely will require a morning and evening meal. This means that you’ll have to measure out equal portions that fit with your feeding schedule. Buying high-quality dog food that can easily be measured out for proportional meals throughout the day is a key feature in responsible dog care.

4. Bring plant life in that’s dog friendly.

Dogs, cats, and other pets love to cause mischief in the home. Because of this, it’s important to explore pet-friendly house plants that won’t leave your new dog needing a visit to the vet each time he or she gets into something that shouldn’t be eaten.

An African Violet, Spider Plant, or another houseplant that requires indirect sunlight throughout the year can be an excellent decoration within the home while also ensuring that your home doesn’t end up victimized by your new furry friend.

Dogs will explore and test the boundaries throughout their lives, so houseplants that are durable and won’t make them sick are a must for any home with a pup.

Life is better with pets, but before bringing a new friend home make sure you understand the obligation you are committing to. A pet is for life, and that often means the next decade or more will be spent pampering your new addition ceaselessly. Take the plunge and your life will be made far more fulfilled.