Having a Pet While in College: Worth the Expense?

Having a pet while in college might seem like something universally acceptable and worthwhile. However, each school's individual policies on having pets on campus is different. Find out more with this article designed for your benefit.


No Pets Allowed… Sometimes

After a stressful day, there's nothing like having a furry friend or two around to comfort you. However, for college students - many of whom live on a budget in dorms or apartments - that may not exactly be possible. Should you get a pet while in college? Can you afford to?

As fun as pets can be, the college life may not provide the best opportunities for you to care for one. In fact, most of the time it may not even be allowed. Very few dorms are especially pet-friendly, so students who live on campus may have to keep their favorite friends back home with their parents.

While there aren't a ton of dorms willing to take in dogs and cats, campus housing may be a bit more relaxed about smaller, caged animals like guinea pigs or fish. Make sure you check your school's policies before bringing any little buddies into your room, though. Even if you live off-campus in an apartment, your landlord might not be so keen on having some animals (especially big dogs) around, so again, know your regulations before you end up in a difficult situation.

A Big Responsibility

Even if you've got a room or apartment where keeping pets is kosher, you need to ask yourself whether or not you're prepared to take care of them. When you were young you probably heard your parents repeat over and over again that 'having pets is a big responsibility'; as it turns out, this time they're right. College students tend to have a lot on their plates already between classes, homework, extra curricular activities and social obligations - can a pet really fit into that schedule? No doubt some students make it work, and for them it pays large dividends, but make sure you've got the time to care for a pet before you bring one into your life.

Another issue to consider here is money. With unforeseen illnesses or accidents, pet costs can skyrocket. Many students find themselves on a tight budget, and they may not have the finances to spare; in that case, perhaps caring for a pet isn't the right move.

Of course, issues of both time and monetary commitment depend on the kind of pet you want. Dogs, while they may be the most fun and loving, probably eat up the most of both. Cats are a little less dependent on human interaction but likely cost just as much. For smaller creatures like caged rodents or fish, the investment required from you isn't as significant. You still have to make sure you feed your friends and keep them in good health, of course, but there are typically less concerns with smaller animals.

Of Course You Should (Maybe) Do It!

All that said, there's nothing quite like having a pet or two to keep you company. Especially if you live alone, having some friendly critters around can make a world of difference. As much as you have to give pets your care and attention, they pay it back tenfold. No, pet ownership is not for everybody, and young college students especially have to be responsible enough to realize when they can't make it work. But if you're willing and able to make the commitment, what you'll be getting back is a great, great thing.

Maybe you can't have pets in your dorm, but have you considered going green?

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