Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet – Including a Dorm Room Fish

I don’t know about you, but I seriously love animals of all kinds. I follow like 100 pet based Instagram accounts, and my boyfriend and I regularly send each other over 20 cute dog pics daily. I often speak of my future “pupper army”, and take every opportunity possible to pet any cat in my vicinity. But, I don’t actually have a pet right now – not even a fish – and it’s definitely a good decision. Here’s why, and what you should consider before you get a pet.

1. Your Lifestyle

I’m a student, and I’d bet most of the people reading this are too. That means I work with a lot of deadlines, and a really weird, variable schedule. I don’t necessarily have time to socialize a dog, or the freedom to drive a lizard to a specialized vet if he gets sick (I don’t even have a car). And I definitely don’t have the money, between tuition and textbooks, to pay for premium cat food.

2. Rules of Renting

While it’s technically illegal to evict someone in Ontario for having a pet, landlords tend to be less than fond of furry friends. Which is fair enough – badly trained dogs poop everywhere, and claws can really scratch up hardwood furniture and floors. Not to mention, I’ve personally moved twice in the last year, and plan to move at least one more time in the next four months. That’s barely fair on a human being, let alone an unsuspecting pet.

3. Vacation Time

A lot of students travel for reading weeks, holidays, and over the summers, whether to tropical destinations or back to their parents’ places. Do you know where you dog, cat, or fish is going to go then? Will it come with you? Can you pay for a kennel? These are all things to consider.

4. It’s a Living Thing

Seriously, this is the big one. I don’t care if it’s “just a fish” – your pet is a living thing. It has needs – big ones – that you absolutely need to be sure you can handle them before you get an animal. Pets are amazing. But if you have any doubt at all that you can handle it, hold off. It’s better to wait than to make something else suffer, even if you don’t intend it.

That being said – I cannot WAIT to get a puppy.