Should You Let Your Child Bring Their Pet to College?

Pets are the perfect companion. Even in college. Who doesn’t want to come home from a long day of classes to their furry friend? However, taking care of a pet in college is a huge responsibility. And it’s really a situation that depends on the pet and the school. For instance, if a pet is an emotional support animal that helps ease your child’s phobias and anxieties, then, of course, it’s a great idea to allow your child to take their pet to college.

What’s more, pets can experience separation anxiety when their favorite human heads off to college. But that does not necessarily mean it’s cut out for college life. For one, pets in college must be able to spend a prolonged period of time alone.

So, how can you make the right decision? Here are a few things to consider.

Is It a Pet-Friendly University?

First of all, are pets even allowed on campus? College life comes with housing limitations. As such, pets can limit your child’s options when it comes to housing. If pets are not allowed in the student dormitories, then you’ll have to find housing off campus which can be considerably more expensive. Another thing, some landlords don’t allow pets within their premises. Even those that are seemingly pet-friendly can enforce breed or weight restrictions.

So, let’s say you’re able to find housing that allows students to own pets. The consideration here is whether there’s enough space or not. Cats and small dogs are perfectly capable of living full lives in cramped spaces, but the same cannot be said for large-breed dogs. Plus, not all animals are adaptive to small spaces, no matter their size.

Pros and Cons of Having a Pet in College

Pro: It’s an opportunity for your child to learn responsibility

From budgeting for pet food to ensuring the pet gets regular veterinary care and exercise, pets come with a lot of responsibility. They may also require routine vaccinations, deworming, and flea control. As such, it’s important to ensure that your child can handle these responsibilities. What’s more, they’ll have to manage the full life of being a pet owner while navigating the complexities of college life.

Con: It’s an expensive endeavor

College students already survive on ramen and hot pockets in an effort to save a little money. Having a pet in college is a significant expense. College life means living on a frugal budget – creating room in such a budget for cat, or dog food can be incredibly difficult. And the costs don’t end there. Grooming needs, vet care, and emergency expenses will just add to the bill.

Pro: Emotional support

It’s well known that playing with a dog or petting a cat can relieve stress. Some pets are also great for getting exercise and ensuring your child spends enough time outdoors. The mental health benefits of having a pet in college are numerous. Pets provide companionship, reduce anxiety, and can provide some much-needed structure to your child’s college experience.

Con: It’s time-consuming

Every pet is different. Cats really just need food, water, and some exercise to be happy. Dogs, on the other hand, require regular attention and daily walks. What happens when you want to go on an impromptu date or a fun road trip? It’s a big commitment. One that requires a significant investment of time, effort, and devotion.

Pro: Social advantages

Having a pet in college can be a great way for your child to make friends. For one, they’ll be incredibly popular because so few people manage to bring their pets to college. However, if they are living in shared housing, it’s crucial to ensure that their flatmates are on board with the idea. Otherwise, having a pet can cause friction.