Temptation in college is everywhere. Whether you’re scrolling through Instagram and see the Dachshund of your dreams or you’re walking across campus and see the most adorable Golden Doodle pup, it can be hard to “just say no” to these temptations. Yes, puppy fever is a thing. Parents, I am warning you. There is a good possibility that at some point your DC will approach you with the idea of them getting a pet while in college. If your student finds him or herself headed to the Tuscaloosa Area Humane Society or stopping by a pet store on a whim, make sure they take these into consideration first:
1) No pet policy.
If they live on campus, the only pets that are allowed are fish in aquariums. If they live off campus, some apartments and rental houses do not allow pets at all. And if they do, there is almost always a pretty steep pet deposit along with recurring monthly pet expenses. Rent in Tuscaloosa is already expensive enough –make sure you’re okay with paying any additional expenses before committing to a pet.
2) Not enough time.
This one is a biggy. With class, studying, and extra curricular activities, college students are kept pretty busy. Depending on the type of pet they get, most require a decent amount of care and attention. Does your student have a schedule that allows them to go home and tend to it every few hours? If they’re already struggling to make sure they have themselves showered, fed, and groomed, maybe have them reconsider taking in an additional responsibility.
3) Can’t afford it.
Not only do you usually have to pay additional fees with your rental home if you have a pet, but you also have to buy food, pay for vet bills, bath supplies and grooming tools just to name a few. Not to mention if the pet gets sick or has an accident of some sort, you don’t want to find yourself stuck deciding between taking care of your pet or paying rent. Have your student create a budget in advance and take into consideration any unexpected vet visits as well to make sure they can afford a pet.
4) They are messy.
Pets shed, they drool, they have accidents, they track in dirt, and they chew on things that just shouldn’t be chewed on. Make sure your student doesn’t mind putting in that extra time and effort to clean up after their pet on a regular basis.
5) Their roommates aren’t okay with it.
Many people are allergic to certain animals. Please make sure your student checks in with their roommates before purchasing or adopting a pet to make sure they aren’t allergic. Also, I know this may seem odd, but some people just aren’t pet people. If adopting a pet will create issues between your child and a roommate, I recommend hitting pause on bringing one home.
So if your child can go through this list and still think, “none of these apply to me,” then maybe it’s time you become a grandparent to the cutest fur baby in Tuscaloosa. Pets can increase quality of life and bring so much happiness. They can teach time-management, responsibility, and stewardship. I know many people who have pets in college and it truly enhanced their college experience. Before your student makes the huge commitment of having a pet, make sure they take into consideration all of the sacrifices they will have to make first.Did you have a pet in college? What was it like? Are you for or against it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!