Is College the Right Time for a Pet?

Pets are one of the greatest joys in life. There is nothing better then curling up in the evening with your best friend on your lap. For some college students, getting a pet is at the top of their to-do list. However, getting a pet is an important decision and should be carefully considered. Once you own a pet, you are responsible for taking care of another life. College might not be the best time for such a large responsibility. If you are thinking about getting a pet, here are four important things to consider:



You will probably change housing several times during your college years. This creates a risk that some of your living arrangements may not be suitable for pets. Dorms and other campus sponsored housing such as fraternity and sorority houses typically only allow service animals. Most apartments that allow pets require additional fees to cover cleaning costs when you move out. Further, even if the place you live allows pets, your roommates may not be as open to the idea. If you think that you will be living in a place that will not work with pets at some point in your college career, then you should hold off before getting your new furry friend.

Baby Bill the cat


Pets are expensive. There’s really no way around that fact. Living on a college student budget with a pet can be extremely difficult. You need to make sure you have the financial means to care for a pet before you bring one home. The AKC estimates the average cost of owing a dog the first year is $3,085. That’s a steep price to pay on a tight income. Some common pet expenses are:

  • Food and water
  • Treats
  • Cages
  • Beds
  • Toys
  • Vaccinations
  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Flea and tick medication
  • Collars and leashes

This is by no means a complete list of necessary animal supplies, but you will need to provide all of these essentials for your pet. In addition, remember to budget additional funds for unplanned emergencies. It’s not hard to rack up a vet bill totaling several hundreds of dollars, or worse, even thousands.

Cute Doggo


College is extremely time consuming. Attending classes full-time, participating in clubs, and working can leave you with little time to take care of your pet. Before you get a pet, you need to ensure you have the time to set aside for playing with, walking, and caring for your new family member. Animals need plenty of love and attention to be happy. When they are receiving enough exercise or attention, they’ll often channel their displeasure through negative actions. This could mean coming home to chewed up household items or other displays of anxious behavior.

After-College Plans

Moving across the country or taking a gap-year in Europe sounds like a wonderful plan, but it’s difficult to take any animal on such journeys. If your after-college plans include traveling or other large lifestyle changes, you may want to wait until you are settled before buying a pet. Once you’ve established a clear plan and are confident you’ll follow it, properly caring for an animal becomes a more realistic possibility.


Final Thoughts

When you adopt an animal, you are committing to care for it as a family member for the rest of its life. If you have any concern over your ability to keep and care for an animal, potentially over the course of 10+ years, then you should wait before getting a pet. I know many people who have successfully kept pets as college students, but I also know those who had to give-up their loved one. Make sure you’re fully prepared for such a commitment before you head to the shelter.

Have any tips for caring for an animal in college? Leave them in the comment section below!

Why Pets Should be Allowed in the Dorms

Pets should be allowed in college dorms. Pets are your companion and your protector. The only reasons I can think of for why pets aren’t allowed in the dorms currently are pet allergies among roommates, the messiness of a pet, and possibly liability issues. I think that when students apply for campus living they should include any pet allergies they have and then they should not be roomed with someone who is planning on having that type of pet. Obviously whatever mess your pet creates would be your responsibility to clean up. Along with that responsibility would come another which includes making sure your pet is behaving and not a threat to you or any other student.

The main argument for pets being allowed into dormitories is the fact that pets are our friends. If I were allowed to bring my dog to college it would be great! I would come home to that happy bark and those dependent eyes and I would be so happy to have him there. Whenever I needed a quick pick me up him could do the trick. Although I obviously know that my friends could give me a pick me up as well, no one is quite like a good dog. The thing about a dog is they’re great listeners and they never interrupt. J

Another huge point is that pets are our protectors. I feel 100X safer when my dog is at home with me. I do not like being alone in my house especially at night. There have also been cases with armed robberies in dorm rooms and I know that with a “guard dog,” nobody would mess with me! I’d feel safer when alone, definitely, if my dog were one of my roommates. I think allowing pets would decrease campus crime overall and it would add a special touch to campus that students usually only get when they’re at home.

In conclusion, pets should be allowed on campus because there is no good reason why they shouldn’t. I’m sure many of us would love to come home to our dorm and have our favorite pet waiting there for us. I know allowing pets on campus would make my home feel homier and it would make me feel safer when alone. Pets should definitely be allowed in the dorms.

Pets in College

While in college, its normal to get a bit homesick.  Personally, the only piece of home I truly miss is my dog since I have everyone else I talk to.  Pets are the only relationships we can only maintain in person nowadays.  So why not bring your cat, dog, fish, or other pet with you to college?  Guys, its no question that walking around with a dog will draw girls to you like moths to a flame.  Plus, everyone likes to feel unique and you could be the only one on campus with a pet iguana or what have you.  There is a reason people don’t bring their pets to college.  There is a reason why pets are prohibited from dorms.  Here’s why:

What are two things you don’t seem to have enough of in college?  Time and money.  Having a pet takes up a lot of time as you need to make trips to the pet food store and veterinarian, exercise and play with your pet, clean up after your pet, etc.  All of these things also cost a lot of money.  Although the love of a pet is priceless, if a person does not have the time and money to properly care for an animal, you are doing the animal a disservice.

Pet hair isn’t so sexy.  Going to class covered head to toe in pet hair isn’t so attractive.  Inviting friends over to play with the new pet might be fun for a week or so, but eventually no one will want to come hang out when they know they will be covered in pet hair within seconds. released an article about the importance of smell when it comes to attracting a person.  Pets can make your room, your bedding, your clothes, and you smell.  Adding this pet smell to a dorm room with piles of garbage, crushed up Arizona cans from weeks ago, bad milk in the fridge, and old pizza on the common room table is a horrible mix.  Even if you keep your dorm room perfectly clean, you will end up spending extra efforts to take care of that pet smell, which reinforces the time and money point.

Pets can trash your room.  If you think your roommate is a pig, imagine what an actual animal can do.  Even if caged while your out (which can be inhumane if you are always out of your dorm room) animals can break out of cages and pee and poop all over your room, dig through your things, and damage your things.

In some cases, an RA finding an illegal pet in a dorm room due to noise complaints or general room checks is grounds for kicking you out of housing.  A person could end up out of the money you or your parents spent on housing plus dealing with finding a place to live.  Not fun.

I am not against pets by any means.  My Border Collie Jack is my favorite family member (sorry Mom).  I just don’t think it’s a good idea in a dorm room.  Better wait until you have a place of your own to get a pet.


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