A Step-by-Step Guide to Owning a Pet in College

A Step-by-Step Guide to Owning a Pet in College

Maddie Bradshaw

Owning a pet in college can be difficult. It is a much bigger responsibility than it may seem. Many students have busy schedules and barely remember to take care of themselves, let alone a pet. Whether you are looking for a dog, a cat, a fish, or any other kind of pet, some students believe that having a pet in college can be worth it! Here are seven tips to owning a pet in college:

Consider your living space

This is the first step if you’re thinking about getting a pet in college. Many students either live on campus or in apartments, townhouses, or a complex of some sort. It is important to see if your space is large enough for a pet, such as a cat or dog. Additionally, you should always check with property management or a landlord to ensure that you do not break any rules by having a pet. Pet fees can be expensive!

Time Management

Time management is one of the biggest issues for college students. With school work and extracurriculars, it is hard to consider taking care of another living thing. Oregon State junior and turtle owner Shelby Strockbine said, “If you think even at some point that you are going to be too busy to take care of a pet, then don’t adopt one because you need to make sure they have the best life they can.”

Research the Pet

This is essential when looking into adopting a pet. Even cats and dogs require an extensive amount of knowledge. Oregon State junior Shynee Ross, owner of a bearded dragon said, “My advice is to research a lot before you buy a pet. Any pet will come with a lot more responsibility than just feeding them.”

Set a Budget 

This is one of the most important things to consider before owning a pet. Pet owners pay for a lot more than just food. If your pet gets sick, will you have the funds to take them to a veterinarian or to get them certain medicine?

Plan for College Breaks/Post College Living

Many students are not from Corvallis, and many aren’t even from Oregon. Can your pet travel with you? This is an important step to consider when thinking about going home for spring break, winter break and summer vacation. If you cannot take your pet with you, make sure you have friends or family who can care for it while you are away.

Where You Get Your Pet is Key

Research more than just your pet. It is key to know that the place you adopt your pet form lines up with your values. Are you adopting a pet? Buying one? Weigh the benefits of both and read up on the place before you make your decision.


Many students have roommates with animal related allergies, or problems with pets in general. It is important to consider your roommates feelings before owning a pet. You should also be mindful of if they will occasionally help you take care of the pet.

“The most rewarding thing about owning a pet is the company they bring. You wouldn’t think a lizard would be sweet and cute, but they are,” said Ross. It is crucial to consider all of the responsibilities of owning a pet. Pets can be wonderful companions in college when cared for properly!

Photography by Patrick Hendry (via unsplash.com)