Getting a Dog in College? Things to Consider Carefully
Posted on June 27, 2012 by WayCoolDogs
For many 18 year olds, going away to college means officially entering adulthood—at least, that’s what they think. Many dog loving 20-somethings consider getting a puppy in their collegiate years (I was one of them). You’re living on your own for the first time, you have a new found sense of freedom, and you love dogs—why wouldn’t you get that black Labrador puppy or miniature dachshund for the dorm room?
Okay, of course getting a puppy for the dorm room isn’t a good idea and probably isn’t allowed, but there are a lot of college student out there that get canine companions once they move out of the dorms. As all of us know, dogs make wonderful pets and can be a truly worthwhile lesson in responsibility and adulthood. While I don’t want to discourage any and all college students from getting a puppy during their studying years, there are many aspects of responsible dog ownership you need to consider before adopting your first four-legged family member.
Scheduling is one thing that any potential dog owner should take into careful consideration. Owning a pet, especially a dog, is a lot of work and requires a huge time commitment. Consider things like timing and scheduling very carefully. Puppies require a lot of care initially. You do not want to leave them alone for long periods at a time (mostly for their own sake, but also for your walls sake).
If you simply must get a dog while you are still in college, look carefully at your school schedule. When are your classes? How many consecutive hours do you have to be away from home for class? Think about the difficulty and out-of-class commitments you may have to make for each class you’re taking that semester. Will you have to spend long hours in the library or in the lab? You don’t want to leave a new puppy alone initially for more than two hours at a time. You should also look into what future class schedules might look like for upcoming semesters. Be sure that your schedule allows you to provide a healthy and happy life for your pet.
Living on a college budget as it is can be a struggle. For many college students, you are unemployed and spending over your budget on late night food and other “un-necessaries”. Owning a pet can be a very significant expense in one’s budget. As a college student considering a pet, you should think about your expenses both at this time and in the future. Can you afford to pay for dog food, pet toys, beds, routine veterinary visits, spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and unexpected illnesses or injury?
While there are many ways to keep your pet expenses down, you should be sure that your budget is prepared for the unexpected as well. That being said, even if a dog fits into your budget as a college student now, think about years to come. After you graduate you will likely have student loan payments, more regular monthly bills, and you will have the challenge of finding a job.
Living situation is another important thing to consider as a college student looking to adopt a dog. Of course, you can likely not have a dog in your dorm room. Many students look to adopt a pet once they’ve moved into their first apartment or rental off of campus. Think about where and when your dog will go to the bathroom. Maybe students don’t have rooms or apartments with yards, so this is one thing to take into consideration.
You should also consider how your dog will spend their time without you. If they are in a smaller space, they will need plenty of exercise when you are home. If you are sharing a space with a friend or roommate, be sure to discuss getting a pet with them first. A dog becomes the member of a household. Even if it is your dog, your roommates will likely be around the pet very often. When evaluating your living situation, this can also be a great time to really think about what dog breed is best for you. Of course, we all have our favorite breeds, but there are some breeds that do better as apartment dogs than others. Look into your options.
As a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure that you do what is best for both you and your beloved pet. There are many instances where owning a pet in college can work. However, there are also plenty of instances where this might be a bad idea. College is a stressful and busy time. Be sure you are ready for the responsibility of owning a dog before you get one.
Guest writer info: Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide information for those ranking online colleges and welcomes comments and questions via email at email@example.com.
* * * * *
For more dog health info, dog stories and fun stuff, subscribe to our newsletter.
* * * * *
Leave a Reply