Owning a Pet in College: A Do or a Don’t? You Decide

Many college students decide to adopt/buy animals while in college. Unfortunately, many of these animals end up becoming neglected or abandoned because their young owners didn't realize the extent of what owning a pet entails.

Don’t be one of these people! Here’s what I’ve learned from my friends who have bought/adopted animals while in college.

-Animals cost money. And lots of it.
 If you don’t have a steady income, such as a part-time job, you should reconsider if you can afford to have an animal. Not only do you need to keep up with keeping your dog or cat fed properly, but you also have to pay for all of his or her shots. And, if your pet unfortunately becomes sick, you’ll have to foot the bill on this as well. If you live in an apartment complex, most likely you’ll have to pay a pet deposit fee (some are upwards of $100) and even sometimes a monthly pet fee in addition to that.

-Puppies and kittens need to have personal attention and consistency.
 College is a stressful period in your life – yes there are lots of fun times, but your life is also very unstable. One night you might spend four hours in the library, while you might spend the next night partying it up. Animals need consistent behavior in order to be trained and if that doesn't happen, they could even start having behavioral problems.

-Roommates can get easily annoyed.
 While your roommate might think your puppy or kitten is cute at first, she might start to resent you when your furry friend is causing more problems than fun. If you aren’t going to be responsible enough to clean up after your pet or to train him or her properly, then you will not be a good roommate. The animal is your responsibility, not hers, and you are the animal’s one and only guardian. Don’t expect anyone to take care of your pet for you.

-Getting your puppy exercise could be a hassle. 
Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a house with a huge backyard, you’re going to be stuck walking your puppy in the rain or snow when he or she needs to use the bathroom. And trust me; it’s usually not a convenient task. If you live in a somewhat unsafe area, you’ll also need to plan out your puppy’s potty breaks so you won’t be walking alone in the dark late at night.

As rewarding as it is to own a pet, it's also a lot of work, so think about that before you adopt one this year. 

— By Kara Apel, Alumna of the University of South Carolina

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