Welcome to the age-old debate of the college years: Should you get a dog or should you not get a dog?

While most adults would respond with a resounding, “No,” there are many aspects to college life that can be helpful when you’re trying to raise your own pet.

PRO: You (hopefully) don’t have a jam-packed schedule and can make multiple trips home during the day.

WHAT TO WATCH: If you are lucky enough to have multiple breaks throughout your day, that’s more time you can spend with your puppy! You’ll be able to take them out more often than you would with a “real world” job. But you’ve got to watch the consistency of your schedule. If your day starts at 9 a.m. one day and 2 p.m. the following day, that can be confusing for a pet. You need to get them up at the same time every day, even if you want to sleep in.

PRO: You have roommates who can help you out.

WHAT TO WATCH: Before getting a dog, make sure everyone is on board. Remember that your pet is your responsibility, but if you are going to be at the library longer than expected, you have someone at home who can take your dog out for you. Make sure, however, that you’re not throwing your responsibility on anyone else. This is YOUR lifelong commitment — not anyone else’s.

PRO: Lonely? Dogs make great companions!

WHAT TO WATCH: Dogs are great partners. For those of you whose families live far away and are battling homesickness, it’s nice to see a happy face waiting for you when you get home from a long day on campus. However, if you do live far away, consider that when you are able to go home you will need to take your pet with you (if you’re flying, that means paying an extra fee) or board them, which can be expensive.

PRO: College students have much more active lifestyles than their “real world” counterparts.

WHAT TO WATCH: I feel, as a whole, college students have the time and schedules to be outside more often. That means there are a lot more opportunities for your dog to get some exercise or run errands with you. Just make sure you keep your pup hydrated wherever you are and don’t leave him or her in the car for long periods of time.

Also, don’t forget: Owning a pet can be expensive. You need to be able to provide food and veterinary care for your pet. If you can’t do that at this point of your life, there’s nothing wrong with that. You might consider taking on a part-time job to save up some money for your future pet. A little bit goes a long way!

If you weigh all of the pros and cons and don’t think you’re ready to own a pet, that is more than OK! There are still ways you can interact with animals. You could try volunteering at your local animal shelter or even helping your friends with their pets. Don’t take this responsibility lightly!


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