When college gets stressful, we always want something that gives us a sense of peace, comfort, and love. Sometimes this comes in the form of an ooey-gooey warm cookie at 12 a.m., other times it’s hanging with friends and watching something cheesy on Netflix. While these small activities are great, nothing quite compares to having a warm, cuddly animal to soothe your soul on those bad days.
Adopting a pet in college is a relatively common phenomenon nowadays. College across the country are recognizing the benefits of having animals around students, especially during maximum stressful times like midterms/finals week. During these weeks, many colleges have therapy dogs visit campus libraries to play and comfort burned out, stressful students. There are plenty of benefits of bringing around these therapy dogs, such as decreasing stress, boosting mood, etc.
Colleges are going even further than merely having pets on campus for finals week. A growing number of colleges and universities across the country have started to implement “dog-friendly” dorms, which allows students to have a dog in their dorm, under specific guidelines.
There are plenty of benefits of adopting a pet while in college, but it also takes a lot of responsibility. Are you a college student looking to bring home a fuzzy little friend? Here’s what you need to know about adopting a pet in college.
Adopting a pet is expensive
While having an animal may seem like all fun and love, there is a fair amount of money that goes into having one. Think about it, expenses for having an animal include food, a bed, toys, potential vet visits, treats, etc. For a college student most likely already budgeting money, these extra expenses may be difficult to balance. On top of just the regular expenses, there’s also the one-time expenses, like spaying, neutering, training, and initial medical fees. First-year expenses will cost approximately $1,314 to 1,843, depending on the size and breed, according to the ASPCA.
Additionally, Mike Liu of Medium writes, “After the first year, the annual cost could range from $580 for smaller dogs to $875 for larger breeds, which require more food.” If you are a student already struggling with finances, adopting aa pet may not be the right choice for you at this moment.
Adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment
Some, not all, people look at pets as toys and not actual animals that need to be taken care of, loved, and treated with care. When adopting an animal, remember that it is a lifelong commitment, not just something that you can have and take care of when you feel like it. Rather, it is something that should be respected and loved all the time. If you don’t think you have the capacity to do this or might not have the ability to give the animal all the love it deserves, consider not adopting and letting the animal go to a home that can better fit its needs.
Your housing may or may not allow animals
Part of the problem of renting housing is the specific rules and regulations the landlord might have regarding animals. Some landlords love animals, while others are firm about the fact that no animals are allowed in their housing units.
Before you even consider adopting a pet, make yourself familiar with the policies of your apartment/house lease. If you go against the policies of your landlord and bring an animal into your home, you could face major consequences ranging from a couple hundred dollar fine to even potentially being asked to leave. Going against the policy is a major breach of trust and you don’t want to risk not having a place to live over having a pet.
Pets are time-consuming
College students are busy all the time. Between maintaining coursework for classes, studying for tests, doing projects, managing a part or full-time job, and having a social life, there is a lot to balance. An animal is also something that requires your time and attention, and cannot just be ignored or neglected while you are busy with your other obligations.
A blog post by Entirely Pets notes, “To avoid breaking a dog’s heart and putting them in a hostile environment, ask yourself beforehand, “Do I have the time to take care of a dog?” Before adopting a pet, consider how you manage your time and evaluate whether or not adding an animal can be something you can handle or manage.
It’s so worth it
I know it seems like I’ve just been discouraging of getting an animal, but its just because animals are so deserving of our love and respect that I want to be real about what you need to do in order to have one. That being said, if you are financially stable, have good time management, live somewhere that allows it, and are fully committed to the animal, then adoption is perfect for you.