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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

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Considerations before caring for a pet in college

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Most college students think they’d be better off with a furry friend. The newfound independence of college gives you a first taste of adulthood and the perks that come with it – including being able to care for your very own pet. But would that furry friend be better off living with a college student? Here are some issues that may come up if you adopt an animal in college, and things that you need to be prepared for. 

Rethink the reptile 

Each animal will bring its own issues, but reptiles may be the only ones that you have to worry about roaming bugs. Often, these animals’ diets consist of live bugs — bugs that could break free in your apartment. Not to mention, the bugs you plan to feed your reptile might attract less-desirable pests too. While some people want a lizard, not everyone wants nomadic bugs. 

Do you have the time? 

Animals that require more attention, such as dogs, need multiple trips outside each day. Between work, classes and social activities, will you be able to come home and walk the dog before getting back to the college grind? If not, do you have a roommate or neighbor who would be willing to help out? If you’re unsure, adopting a pet is probably worth reconsidering.  

Built-in alarm clock 

Whether you wake up at 6 a.m. or 11 a.m., you can expect your animal to be your new alarm clock. They could be hungry, or angry or perhaps hangry. Barks, slobber or the stomps of paws on your bed will wake you up, alerting you that your pet must take a walk right now, or they’re ready for breakfast. No more staying up late and sleeping in, your schedule is now up to your animal’s needs. 

Miscellaneous costs 

Buying toys, beds, collars or leashes for your pet may seem like one-time purchases. But really, most of these items will need to be replaced at some point. Pets get bigger and grow out of things, and they tear up toys and leashes. You’ll probably end up replacing these items once they endure some expected wear-and-tear, and the total price could add up.  

Larger costs 

In almost every Bloomington student residence, pet rent is an added cost to your budget. In my experience, some apartments’ pet rents are as low as $25 but others are up to $75 or higher.  

Every animal requires an occasional veterinary visit. Others may require more. Take into account whether your pet may have issues that require expensive medication or additional vet bills. 

Burdens of the breeds 

Another thing to take into consideration is which breed you choose to adopt. Size is important to think about, considering your own ability to manage a big animal and the size of your (likely very humble) college home. The specific animal’s activity level is also very important to consider – be ready to either lay around a lot or go on tons of walks. As for mess, certain breeds tend to shed more than others, along with slobber.  

Thinking ahead 

Adopting your dream pet during college creates some sort of dream world, but you have to remember that these animals are your responsibility 24/7. It’s important to look ahead to summer break and beyond. Will you be able to stay in Bloomington with your animal? Will your parents or friends house the animal if needed? After graduating, you’ll have to make sure your next roommate and residence  will accept your pet.  

 

While adopting an animal is a comforting and exciting idea, there are many aspects of pet parenthood to consider before committing to the decision. Pets are living, breathing creatures with lots of needs. Make sure you’re able to care for that pet – during and beyond your time at college – before adopting. 

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