Image by Grant Cochrane

Image by Grant Cochrane

Having a pet can be one of the most fulfilling opportunities a person can experience. However, having a pet while in college presents a few more hurdles and rules depending on your living experience. Here is a quick guide to owning a pet or pets in college.

Dorming with Pets

Universities have their own rules regarding pets in dorm, and most do not allow cats or dogs due to allergies and cleanliness. However, some schools do allow canines and felines, but have guidelines based off weight and whether or not the pet has been spayed or neutered.

Smaller pets, such as hamsters, gerbils, snakes or reptiles also vary by school. Fish, one of the world’s simplest and most low-maintenance pets, are usually the go-to college pet. However, most universities have rules about tank size.

Regardless on a university’s pet policy, you still should double check with any roommates to make sure they feel comfortable with any additional roomies.

Bringing Pets from Home

Once outside of the dorms, it can be tempting to want to bring a piece of home with you to a new apartment. Although you already know the temperament of your pet and have an established relationship, introducing a pet to a new home and new housemates can be stressful on both ends.

When a pet and a roommate do not get along relationships go sour fast. Anyone who has watched enough episodes of “My Cat from Hell” knows how much a pet and human can clash. Also, if a roommate also wants to bring their pet to the apartment it create conflict between animals, even if they are the same breed.

Make sure to check other apartment or landlords’ policies on pets if you switch rentals while in college, because not all off-campus housing companies are pet friendly.

Adopting while in College

Adopting a pet while in college comes with a whole new set of responsibilities. Puppies need to be house trained, kittens need to watched so they don’t scratch furniture and there is also the issue of costs, which add up between food, toys and vet bills.

Pets also take up a lot of time. Dogs need to be walked, cats need to be played with and even hamster or gerbils should run around in their little balls. With classes taking up a large chunk of your free time, and not to mention all the hours you will want to spend socializing, it can be difficult to give your four-legged friend the attention necessary.

Purchasing a pet with roommates also can cause issues with who gets to keep the pet for the summer or after graduation. Unlike with a family, roommates do not come with the same guarantee of staying together for more than a few semesters. To avoid any debates over ownership, it is best to just adopt a pet on your own and taking sole care of the animal. If your roommates want to help feed or play with your pet, definitely let them. Just remember that your pet is only your responsibility.

With students undergoing many changes while in college, it can be easy to want a little comfort from a furry friend. Although caring for a pet while getting a degree isn’t an accredited programs, the tips above will help you get your masters in owning a pet.

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