Pets in College: A Benefit or a Distraction?

Did you know that some colleges allow you to have pets in your dorm room? This can definitely influence your decision in college, but will having your pet with you benefit your college experience or prove to be a distraction? We’ll cover just that in this article, but we do believe it is a case-by-case basis.

pets in college

Pros: Pets Offer Emotional Support, Exercise, and Companionship in College

There’s no doubt that heading to college can be a stressful experience for students, especially if they’re going far away from home. After a long day of classes, you always have someone you’re happy to see when you head back to your dorm room or apartment – someone that is happy to see you, too. If you have a hard time making friends, you could doubly benefit, as you have a friend already and pets are definitely a conversation-starter to new friends.

If you have a dog, too, you can be sure to be getting your exercise in each and every day. You can’t underestimate the mental health benefits of having a pet while attending college.

Cons: They Can Be Expensive and Require a Lot of Time

Pets can be expensive, more expensive than some realize, and this can be extremely costly for a college student. Food is only part of the equation. If the pet needs medical care, the expenses can get up there fast, costing thousands of dollars the student may not have on hand. Some schools also require deposits for you to have the animal in the first place.

And, of course, there’s the time a student needs to devote to the animal. Not all students have time available, especially if they’re working at the same time as attending college. While you do get the exercise of walking and playing with your dog, for example, you may be falling behind in your classes or study. And having a pet means you can’t regularly just go away for spring break or the weekend – they’re your responsibility.

Should You Have a Pet in College?

It’s extremely important to weigh the pros and cons when it comes to having a pet in college. While it may not work for one student, that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Review your finances, your expected coursework, and any other responsibilities you have. Does it make sense?

You’ll also want to think about pets that make sense for you. Is a dog right for you? A cat? A fish? What makes sense for the space you have available? Some colleges, although they allow pets, do not allow certain animals – particular dog breeds and sizes may not be permitted, for example – and you may be required to get permission from your suitemates or roommates.

Having a pet is a commitment, and not one that can be taken lightly. If you’ve reviewed everything though, and it makes sense for you, you should absolutely look into bringing your best friend along for the ride of college!


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