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5 Tips for First-Time Pet Owners

When I moved out of the house, I couldn’t wait to get a dog! Most people love animals, and I was no exception. Now I have a dog and a cat, but there is no way I could have handled either one freshman year. Here are a few things to consider when getting a pet!

Talk to your landlord.

Or, if you’re in the dorms, make sure to ask the school their policy on pets. At my college, for example, there are no pets allowed except service animals. Not many rental places in college towns allow pets either, so be sure to find a place that does before falling in love with one!

Pick your animal.

Finding the right kind of pet can be harder than some people think. Will you be in class or at work most of the day? If so, a puppy might not be the best option! Make a list of qualities you want your future pet to have and see what types of animals match; you might be surprised at what you find!

Find a local shelter!

There are more than you’d think, and there are plenty of amazing animals waiting for you! The adoption fee is usually low, and most shelters have the animals vaccinated and fixed before they go up for adoption, so you’ll spend way less in the long run.

Factor in extra costs.

Many people don’t think about all the costs associated with a pet. Not only do you need food, a bed, and toys, but there will be recurring costs. Cats, for example, will need litter that must be changed frequently, and it can get pricey! Another big expense is vet visits, which brings us to our next point.

Find a good vet!

To keep your new best friend healthy, you will need to have regular vet visits. Vaccinations are a recurring cost, usually done every 6 to 12 months. In addition to wellness visits, there are always things that come up. Your new pup may get a rash, start sneezing, or get a cut, and you will need to be prepared to incur the cost!

If you made it through this list and everything sounds doable, start browsing for a new furry friend! Pets have been shown to have lots of positive mental and physical health benefits, such as stress reduction. We could all use help with that as college students! Get a start by looking into local shelters or visiting websites such as www.petfinder.com or www.adoptapet.com.

Zoey Hickman

Louisiana Tech '20

Zoey is a Junior Psychology Major. When she's not managing the HC chapter at Louisiana Tech University, she's probably doing freelance work, performing her original music, or working on her podcast! Her favorite things in the world are coffee, scary movies, and fashion.
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