Everything You Need to Know About Owning Pets in College

By Tamiera Vandegrift on October 7, 2017

From the rapid influx of memes and animal videos that flood social media, it’s no wonder why college students want pets. Statistics show that 46 percent of homes in the United States own a dog and the likelihood of those pet owners to be at a collegiate age stands at a solid 58 percent.

Nothing compares to the joy of seeing a cute puppy or a fuzzy kitten in a dorm or running around on campus. Now that you’re an adult that’s able to make their own decisions, getting the pet that Mom and Dad never let you have is now a very real possibility. For animal lovers everywhere, owning a pet during their college years is a dream come true.

However, the reality of owning a pet in college goes much further than cute Instagram pictures and fun animal playdates. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about owning pets in college.

Image via: www.pexels.com

Not all apartments and dorms are pet-friendly

One rule that Florida State residence halls maintain is that “Students can have a fish named Dog, but not a dog named Fish.” In this cute little phrase, the residence hall committee is informing students that fish are the only pets that students can own.

Apartments are often hesitant to allow pets in their space and for perfectly valid reasons. Pets can often bring messes and destruction that are hard and expensive to fix. Some complexes and dorms wish to maintain the appearance of their buildings by forbidding pets of a certain size or pets altogether.

It might seem inviting to keep your pet as a secret refugee, but this can lead to issues as well. If you are caught, you could lose your lease, or even worse, your pet. Make sure that you research any and all rules and regulations associated with owning pets at your dorm or apartment. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Image via: www.pexels.com

Pets can be expensive

The one thing that many don’t realize or choose to overlook is that pets can really burn a hole in your wallet. The combination of pet deposits, veterinary bills, food, medicines, toys, collars, crates, and more can rack up to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. If students aren’t in a good financial situation before they get a pet, they might end up sacrificing funds that might have needed to go towards textbooks or groceries.

Owning pets is an incredible financial responsibility. If you’re going to own a pet, you want to think seriously about getting a part-time job or asking your parents for some financial assistance. In order for your pets to have a happy, healthy life, you need to be willing to part with your hard-earned money to make it happen.

Image via: www.pexels.com

Pets require time and energy

Owning a pet is not a part-time job or something that you can just put off. While it’s fun and wonderful to come home to a wagging tail or a purring, furry friend, pets require more than just a cup of food and a walk every now and then. The minute you adopt or buy a pet, that animal is absolutely dependent on you. Your pets will look to you for love, nourishment, and company and if you cannot provide those things, you should not own a pet.

If your schedule is extremely busy or you’d rather devote your free time to social activities, you might want to rethink having a pet. It isn’t fair to rob your pets of quality time; they need love and attention to stay happy and well; otherwise, they might become bored and damage your space or develop separation anxiety.

Having a pet is more than just having a little creature to spend time with now and then; it’s a commitment lasting throughout your pet’s lifetime. If this is problematic for you, consider getting a stuffed animal or a pet rock instead.

Image via: www.pexels.com

You will need to consider the future

Eventually, you will graduate and you will need to figure out your future. You should definitely consider this before investing in a pet. If you’re moving to a place after graduation where it would be impossible or unrealistic to own your pet, you shouldn’t get one to begin with. It’s unfair to the animal and to anyone who would have been able to care for this pet for a longer period of time.

If you’re going out of town for a break from school, you will need to figure out a plan for your pet while you’re gone. Are you going to bring the animal with you, or will you need to make pet-sitting arrangements with someone? When you graduate, do you plan on taking your pet with you? Will you have enough time and money to care for another life? Before getting pets, you need to recognize that they are a lifetime commitment and something that requires a lot of your time, money, and energy.

While owning a pet in college is certainly not a walk in the park, it is still one of the most fun and fulfilling things you will do. If you do decide that getting a pet in college is a realistic and wise option, best of luck to you and enjoy your time with your new animal companion!

Tamiera is a senior at Florida State University, studying Editing, Writing & Media and Digital Media Production. When she's not geeking out about movies and puppy videos, she's on her way to a career in screenwriting, while working intensely to finish a few novels before graduation. Besides writing, Tamiera is otherwise obsessed with Coldplay, feminism, dystopian novels, and various types of junk food. She hopes to see one of her works on the silver screen and eventually finish an entire tube of Chapstick.

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