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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

There are many reasons why a student might want to have a pet at school. Pets can provide companionship, exercise, a sense of responsibility, and more. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s important to realize that pet ownership comes with a lot of rewards and responsibilities. Before diving headfirst into bringing your furry friend to school, it’s important to take a minute to assess the pros and cons of on-campus pet ownership.



In my personal experience, I found a pet to be a great way to make the apartment feel less empty. It’s not always easy to meet up with friends, or even roommates,when we’re all trying to stay on top of school work, club meetings, jobs, etc. For me, it was nice to know that someone would always be hanging around the apartment, even if they had four legs and a tail.

A Good Distraction

I know for a fact that every student tends to get caught up in school work, often neglecting to take the time for a much needed break. It isn’t necessarily the best to stare at a computer all day, either. Having a pet encourages you to peel yourself from that screen. The cat in my apartment would always barge into my room and demand my attention every hour or so, and I noticed people down the hall consistently taking their dogs on walks every day. In my opinion, time away from the desk can really help you refocus and get out of that mental fog.

Great Conversation Starters

Whenever I see a dog on campus, my first instinct is to compliment the owner and ask if I can pet it. Animals are a great way to get people talking, especially when most college students are missing their pets at home. I once had an entire group of students squeeze themselves into my apartment because they were so excited to see a cat (and I didn’t even know any of them at the time!). Needless to say, it’s a great way to stay socialized.



Keeping an animal with you brings quite a few bills your way, which can add a lot of financial stress. Surprise vet bills and appointments can be a potential issue as well, and those costs aren’t exactly cheap. On top of that, most apartments charge a monthly fee on top of your rent for keeping a pet in your apartment. It might not be in your best interest to invest in a pet up at school if you’re juggling other expenses like tuition, rent, etc.

Time Commitment

Pets, especially dogs, need lots of socialization and regular exercise to keep happy and healthy. As a student, you may find that you don’t always have the time to pursue these activities. It takes time and consistency to keep a pet socialized, and neglecting to regularly check on your pet throughout the day can have negative effects on your pet.


It isn’t the most fun to take a dog for a bathroom break in the middle of winter, or to clean a litter box before you leave for classes. You also have to keep up on vacuuming your living space and brushing your pet often if they have longer hair, unless you want your allergies (and your wardrobe) to suffer. If you do plan on keeping an animal with you, I’d definitely recommend having a lint roller on hand as well.

Pet ownership comes with many responsibilities and time commitments to ensure their (and your own) well-being and happiness. Being aware of the risks and rewards of pet ownership is vital to assessing whether or not a pet would be the right fit for your situation.

Elizabeth is an author for Her Campus at MSU. She is a new member of HCMSU and spends her time collaborating with teammates and creating content for her chapter. Milne prefers to discuss topics that delve into her personal experiences to provide a knowledgeable perspective on the articles she writes. Milne is a senior at Michigan State University studying mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace engineering and a minor in graphic design. In high school she participated in honor’s English and won an award for her poem about homelessness at their leadership day ceremony. Despite her limited experience, Milne has always enjoyed writing and wanted to expand her horizons in the world of literature. Moving forward, Milne hopes to strengthen her article writing skills and eventually work towards writing a novel. In her free time, Milne enjoys working on her art projects, listening to music, going to the gym, and gossiping with her parents over the phone.