Pets in College
Having pets in college can be a wonderful idea because they are great companions when your roommates and friends aren’t around, or if you just need a cuddle buddy. Your pet is always there for you and it is proven that they can help lower stress levels. But there are some things you need to consider before bring your furry friend from home or make that big step in purchasing a new lifelong friend.
It’s important to realize that most dorms do not allow pets, with the exception of perhaps a fish, so you will most likely have to wait to have a pet once you’re off campus and living in either a house or an apartment. Fortunately though, some schools are becoming more lenient with the no pets allowed rule, permitting cats in the dorms. But don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to get rid of your pets because you didn’t follow the rules of your dorm building. It is easy for you to do some research to see if your school allows pets.
If you are living off campus and thinking about bringing home a pet, check with your apartment or landlord to make sure they allow them. A lot of apartments allow pets but with an extra fee. For example, an apartment complex could charge an extra $50 fee on top of the normal rent for having a pet. This is for the additional cleaning and maintenance they would have to do to the apartment once you move out. You also need to consider the space you are bringing an animal into. Will there be a place for you to take a dog out for exercise? Is a park nearby for them to run off energy? You don’t want to have your pets cooped up in a cramped yard or apartment all the time. Not only is it not good for the pet, but it’s also when their destructive nature could come out and cause a lot of trouble for you and your wallet. Fortunately though, a lot of landlords are good with renters having pets.
The next big thing to consider is the fact that pets are a big time commitment. They require a lot of attention, especially if you are planning on having a dog. Trying to balance your time between school, work, and your social life can be difficult already, but having a pet will mean setting aside time to interact with them as well. It’s important to take time to play with pets every day and make sure they get the proper amount of exercise. It is also really important to make sure they are well trained; otherwise you will find yourself more frustrated with them overall. You also can’t leave them alone for long periods of time, so you need to schedule your day (e.g. your classes) around your pet’s needs. If you are planning on going out of town without your pet, make sure to make the appropriate arrangements. You can look into using a kennel, but those can be expensive.
Apart from being a major time commitment, pets are costly, and you should consider your financial situation before committing to the care of a pet. It can be easier to take on a pet if your parents are willing to help out with college-related expenses, but most students are on their own for caring for their animals. You need to be able to budget for vet visits (which are expensive), food, toys, grooming, and just day-to-day things to care for them. Also prepare for unexpected costs that will come up when your pet gets sick and needs to visit the vet for any medication or even surgery.
Pets can be great companions while you are away at school and can be a lot of fun to have around. However, don’t forget pets have a lot of responsibility associated with them. Before making that big decision, do the necessary research and talk to your parents and your roommates to see if it’s something that could work for you.