Can You Handle a Pet in College?

Being in college can be rough on our stress levels, ladies, let’s be honest. BUT not all are prepared to own a cute, furry friend. Before rushing out to buy a pet that is an exact look-alike of Boo the Dog, we need to talk about the cash and personal time you will be dishing out for your cute companion.

Koda the Australian Cattle Dog

“There were tons of things to think about before getting a dog: cost, time commitment, finding a pet friendly place to live, among other things,” said Alex Winzenburg, a junior majoring in geography.

Here is a list of a few questions you should ask yourself before becoming a pet owner:

Does your apartment allow them?

So, first let’s talk about whether you can even have a dog in your apartment complex. Many apartments have tons of restrictions of the types of animals you can have (if you can have an animal at all), including weight limits and extra fees. If you want that little doggie in the window as bad as you think you do, finding the right apartment at a low cost that allows pets should be reasonable.

Can I afford the costs of having a pet?

Another important aspect of being a dog owner is the ability to provide food, water, and shelter for them. I won’t get into the millions of different brands of dog foods you could buy, but just know that your pet absolutely needs to eat (duh). Take the time out of your busy school schedule to figure out what is best for your dog as well as how much and how often he should be fed.  Apart from food, dogs require other necessities, like a bed and vet visits. If your dog is anything like mine, they may require a large enough bed for the two of you to share during those stormy summer nights!

Do I have enough time to devote to them?

One detail you must remember about owning dogs is that they love attention, your attention! Attention can be given in the simplest of ways from taking your dog on daily walks to being total couch potatoes together. Either way, your dog will need lots of love and lots of attention to maintain his or her happiness.

Not a dog person...? Maybe a cat is right for you, instead.

If this all seems like it could be too much to handle right now, that’s okay. Cats are another great option for college students, too! Don’t worry, no one will think of you as the crazy cat lady (...yet).

“[Fluffy] can be somewhat costly when it comes to the vet and her food but having her there has more than made up for that,” said Laura Fagen, a junior majoring in strategic communications and theater major, about her cat, Fluffy.

Cats are very independent animals and require a lot less maintenance than dogs do. Although, they do need their litter boxes cleaned just about every day! Oh, and food obviously. That is still somewhat easier than caring for a dog. If you are a student that has a busy schedule this could be a great alternative to having a dog.

Her Campus KU's Vice Presidents Cat, Fluffy!

You could also consider handheld pets such as bunnies and guinea pigs, too. And if all else fails and you do not believe you can quite handle a pet of your own just yet, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities at local animal shelters where you can get just as much animal lovin’ as you need!