dog graduation

Owning a Pet in College

Owning a pet can bring comfort and joy but it’s also a big responsibility. If you are thinking about getting a pet while you’re in college it is smart to weigh the pros and cons before making any final decisions. You should take your housing situation, your budget, your schedule and time management skills all into consideration.

A lot of the time students buy pets on impulse and end up having to bring it back or pawn it off on someone else (their parents) because they realize they can’t take care of it. This is a sad situation and can be avoided if you think before you act. Others get a pet because it’s what they know and are used to. They grew up with a family pet and feel incomplete without it.

I got my dog at the beginning of sophomore year of college. My decision was a combination, it was an impulse decision and I also grew up with dogs and felt something was lacking without one. The first couple of weeks were rough but it ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made. It also helped that I attended a pet friendly college that had dorms specific for students with pets.

dog and cat


They can make you feel at home

They become a part of your family. This is great in college if you are feeling homesick or missing your family. Having a pet can be comforting and make you feel like you have a friend.

They keep you busy

Having a pet can keep you busy when you are bored. You can spend time playing with them, training them, or taking them outside, like taking your dog for a walk.

They make you happy

They will be there to cuddle when you need it most. They can bring a smile to your face just by being themselves, doing all the silly things that pets do. Having a pet can help with anxiety that you may get before a big test or presentation.


It’s personal

Pet owners don’t like to hear it but if they have a badly behaved or untrained pet it is the owners fault, not the pets. You have to designate time to train them and spend quality time with them.

It’s time consuming

You have to remember to feed them, get them exercise, cleanup after them and take them to the bathroom. Having a pet is a big responsibility that some people may not be ready for in college, especially on top of a full class schedule.

It’s can be expensive

Having a pet can get expensive with the vet appointments, food, and any treats or goodies you want to get them. If you live off campus you might also have to pay an addition pet fee at your apartment.

If you feel like you want to get a pet but you aren’t ready for the full commitment you can start small! The more time consuming duties come with owning a cat or a dog. Think about getting a fish, or a small reptile. You can also look into become a hamster, gerbil, or rabbit parent. Having a smaller more self-sufficient pet like the ones listed above can be a great alternative and help you ease your way into pet parenthood.

If you are interested in attending a pet-friendly college, you can check out these 5 pet friendly universities:

  1. Eckerd College
  2. Lees-McRae College
  3. University of Northern Colorado
  4. University of Washington
  5. Stephens College

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