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Pet Care Tips for College Students

Having a pet is a great way for college students to beat feelings of homesickness. But instead of jumping in and adopting a new dog, cat or other small pet, it is important to weigh the pros and cons and consider how different life would be with an added priority.

The first thing students should consider—namely those living on campus in the dorms—is whether or not their school is pet-friendly. Universities like Stanford do not allow students to bring pets of any kind into the dorms but the school’s official website does provide a list of apartment complexes close to campus that do allow pets. Always find out this information prior to setting up on campus or you could risk losing your pet before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy it.

Needless to say, students living off campus have a better chance at successfully integrating a pet into their life, especially if it is okay with the landlord/management. While cats, fish, birds and smaller animals that can be housed in cages are typically easy to handle, dogs can be a bit more challenging.

Students thinking about having a dog need to ask themselves some very important questions, such as:

  • What type of breed is compatible with my lifestyle?
  • Will my class schedule allow me enough quality time to spend with my dog?
  • What days will I be able to walk my dog and where could I go to do this activity?
  • Can I leave my dog in my room or will it need to be outdoors?

Perhaps the most crucial aspect that needs to be worked out for college students that want to become future dog owners is where their pet will be housed while in classes. It is essential that dogs have adequate space to roam around when alone, as well as stay protected at the same time.

Students lucky enough to live in off campus housing with a front and/or backyard area might want to think about the possibility of setting up an outdoor play area for their dog. When going about creating such a setup, it helps to have the right equipment, such as a dog fence. Sites like specialize in selling quality dog fences, as well as information about making this item work effectively with your pet.

If you believe this approach would be ideal for your pet, it’s a good idea to discuss the subject with your landlord in order to get approval. It is vital to remember that in a majority of situations where a renter wants to get a pet, the landlord could request a separate “pet deposit” or may slightly raise the monthly rent. Students need to be financially prepared for such an occurrence.

On a similar note, owning a pet isn’t cheap. There are the essentials, such as food, grooming products, toys, leashes and collar but also expenses related to visits to the vet, cost of shots/vaccination, etc.