What Having a Dog in College is Really Like

Dogs are the most lovable and hilariously cute animals out there. Nothing quite beats puppy snuggles when you’re feeling down, and even simply Googling pictures of puppies with pumpkins can make a bad day better. Many of us may want a dog of our own once we get through that awkward freshman dorm phase. Every person you ask will tell you all the great things about having a dog that you are now responsible for, including getting a ton more exercise on walks and having a friend to watch out for you. Don’t get me wrong — I love my dog more than anything. But here’s what having a dog in college is actually like.

1. Every single day starts at 8 a.m. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate all the mornings we’ve slept in and wasted the entire day away. Sleeping in is just not an option with a dog, especially when it's still a puppy. Their bladders wake up at the crack of dawn, and they will never hesitate to let you know. Despite this, waking up early and not wasting the day away is a really great feeling, especially when you take advantage of the extra time with some productivity.

2. You can’t be out of your home for more than five hours at the most. This especially applies to having a new puppy in your home. When they’re locked away for so many hours, they can’t go to the bathroom! You always have to form plans to make sure you’re home about every four hours. This can be beneficial, though, because it allows you to be productive in a certain time frame, and being home can be really nice sometimes.

3. You always have to find a way home after going out. Always. Remember that little rule of waking up around 8 a.m.? Well, this especially applies to getting home at a reasonable time after a night out. I always used to crash at my best friend’s house after going out with all of my friends, but taking an Uber home is always my plan now. It’s such a great feeling to flop onto your bed after an exhausting night out and be met with some cuddly puppy snuggles.

4. Dog hair is everywhere. My white sheets now look kind of gray because of my black dog’s hair. Every shirt has at least 30 little hairs all over it, and it doesn’t matter what color the dog is. The hair manages to get on every shirt every time. If I combined all the dog hair, I could probably make a sweater. This is just something you have to learn to cope with if you decide on a dog that frequently sheds.

5. Walks are constant and tedious. Somehow, my dog doesn’t realize that he has been sniffing the same spot every single time we go for a walk. You gradually get into a groove of the path you walk every time, and it gets really old really quickly. I do get to appreciate when it is really nice outside, and walking around allows me to get up and exercise when I’ve been studying for hours.

6. Puppies need constant entertainment, regardless of any exams you have. Puppies want to play and chew and bite at every hour of the day until around 9 p.m. Because of this, studying at home is not an option. I always find myself throwing a toy around my room or pausing my work to entertain my puppy with just my hands. However, it is really nice to spend some quality time with my pup, and study breaks are always welcomed.

I really do enjoy having a dog in college, and there are pros to every single reality of having a dog in college (except for the dog hair). Dogs are incredibly hard to take care of, and you must be dedicated to live a happy lifestyle for you and your pup. In college, it’s so easy to be overwhelmed by school work, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs, and a dog has the potential to increase your stress level. But there are also tons of advantages to having a dog, and the best part is that I never have a shortage of snuggles.

Photo credit: Marisa Masters