illustration of college girl holding a dog

Should You Own a Dog If You’re a College Student?

Although a pet serves as a source of emotional support during stressful times in school, one must consider the dog's needs too.

You’re a dog owner but you’re a college student. That’s not necessarily a bad situation but there’s a responsibility and commitment that comes with owning an animal. If you’re not like most college students who are broke and live on ramen noodles, should you get a pet?

These are the kinds of questions that you must answer on your own. Yes, maybe you are lonely or stressed, and having a furry friend could help you feel better. However, don’t be selfish and only think about what would benefit you; dogs also have needs that must be met by owners.

Moreover, if you’re a college student who values your social life, you now have a pet that you need to feed. You’re technically a parent that didn’t give birth but still has the responsibility of taking care of something that is dependent on you. Your schedule and everything you do now revolves around your dog. If you’re ready for this commitment, here are some things to consider.

What To Consider Before Getting a Pet

You want a dog, and your reasons are because they are cute and give you unconditional love. This is true, and they also have health benefits for their owners, including more activity, lower stress, and company when you’re going through a hard time. However, dog owners must ask themselves a number of questions: Why do you want a dog? Is it the appropriate time to own a dog? Can you keep them forever? Once you can answer these questions, think about researching the decision you are about to make.

Furthermore, there are tons of videos and articles that can help you understand the responsibilities of owning a dog. One important tip is to read articles and watch videos that feature people in your age range talking about the topic. For instance, maybe you’re a Gen Z college student and you don’t have the time and money to own a pet; on top of that, if you’re a student living on campus, owning a dog may not be ideal — students must follow the rules of their dorm. Depending on the college, students are rarely allowed to keep pets in their dorms, and if they are caught, they can get in trouble. That said, if you’re a student that has a certified emotional support animal, there are different accommodations and guidelines for you.

In addition, if you’re a freshman just starting school, don’t think about getting a dog or finding ways to hide it. You won’t know much about the school and are still adapting to everything the college has to offer. The best time to get a dog in college is between your sophomore and senior year, once you’ve adjusted to the life of a student.

If you’re ready to own a dog, the next step to consider is moving out of the dorm and moving into an apartment or house. Yes, that is going to cost a lot of money, which necessitates the question: Can you afford a pet? A college student must consider if they want to adopt or purchase their pet. If they decide to adopt, the cost is cheaper than purchasing a pet. Owning an animal comes with a lot: For example, “They require feeding, worming, and vaccinations as standard, with the potential for further expenses in the case of accidents or illnesses.” Other expenses include food, medicine, accessories and training.

Moreover, when it comes time to think about the living situation, you should take the time to find a place that is pet friendly. Living in a place that accepts your pet is vital but can be difficult to find. For example, dogs need ample space to roam and play. “Consider whether you have access to a garden for your dog to go to the toilet and green space [for] a walk. A safe space for your dog to enjoy time off [leash] is also important.”

Lastly, educating yourself about what services are available to support your pet is crucial. “Your dog will need a good veterinary clinic and responsible, positive-based training classes to attend, as well as potentially a groomer, dog walker, and boarding kennels.” As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to do your research and find a place where your animal can have a good experience. In addition, students should have a support system, someone that can take care of their pet when they cannot. If you’re going to be out all day, someone must watch the pet and take it for a walk and feed, it. When you are studying long hours or have an internship that takes most of your time, it is necessary to have a babysitter.

Owning a pet is a big commitment, which is something to be mindful of before bringing a pet into your life. Being financially independent is a must because pets are expensive and a responsibility. A person can spend $1000 their first year on a pet. If that’s a responsibility you are willing to take, take it and stand by it because once you buy a pet, your life changes — not only your social life but the decisions you make about any event or situation will now be based on your pet.

Amandine Shadia, The University of Arizona Global Campus

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Amandine Shadia

The University of Arizona Global Campus
Journalim and Mass Communication

Amandine Shadia is a courageous writer who loves to educate herself about many topics. Shadia can take on both bad or good that comes in her life. She is a senior at The University of Arizona Global Campus.

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