8 Reasons NOT to Bring Pets to College

Dorm rules are strict enough as it is (no candles, no loud music after a certain time, specific move-in/out days, etc…), but can you believe that some of the world’s top schools actually allow (and encourage) their students to keep animals in their rooms? While it may seem like a cute idea at first, there are plenty of reasons why a college dorm room is possibly the worst place for an animal. And, yes, I know you’re missing Fluffy right now, but bear with me.

1. Dorm rooms don’t come with your own personal yard.

You can barely fit all of your junk into your little 10×10 room and still have room to breathe. What makes you think adding a dog (or some other medium/large animal) to that equation will make life any easier? Not to mention, dogs need a place to go out and run in order to stay healthy. Yes, some people keep poor dogs locked up in their tiny city apartments all day, but does that make it right? No.

2. You can’t afford that much Febreeze.

Hopefully you keep your room somewhat clean, but isn’t it just the worst when your roommate leaves an old pizza box somewhere? Or maybe your room smells the worst after you come back from a workout. Multiply both of those smells (and any other horrendous scents you can think of) by 100 and THAT’S what some old, dried up cat/dog/lizard/whatever waste will smell like.

3. Tank cleaning is boring, gross, and time consuming.

Fish and other aquatic pets are no exception to the “no pets” argument. While fish are relatively easy to take care of and contain, the tank is bound to get dirty at least a few times over the course of the year. Yes, in order to keep your fish tank from becoming a moldy, murky, and dangerous (to your fish, at least) environment, you’ll have to dedicate at least an hour every 2 weeks (although most pet sites suggest cleaning more often) to fish housekeeping. Oh, also, you’ll have to be super careful about avoiding any type of water damage.

4. Not everyone thinks gerbils and hamsters are cute.

How would you feel if you saw a rat run across your floor right now? You’d probably jump a little and immediately Google “exterminator.” Now, imagine that happening in your dorm building, but with someone who doesn’t know about your collection of hamsters. They’re probably going to run to the store to buy mouse traps and attempt to get rid of your pet without even knowing it’s of sentimental value to you. You might love them and think they’re adorable, but they’re still rodents and they’re bound to freak someone out.

5. You’ll just become even more antisocial.

Hey, if you want to sit in your room and rant mindlessly to your cat all day, that’s your decision, but do you really want to waste all your time and miss all thoseĀ opportunities you’ll only get during your college years? Yes, pets are great companions, but maybe you should take advantage of your situation and try to make some new human companions. The great thing about pets is that they’ll still love you when you come home for Christmas- even if you haven’t seen them since the summer.

6. You’re really going to piss off that one girl with allergies.

Animal allergies are pretty common, and some people are really serious about them. If there’s someone on your floor with a severe pet allergy, you should probably do them a favor and NOT hoard a cat in your room. At some point, those furs and fibers are going to find her and she’s going to get sick way more than she needs to all because you just had to have a pet.

7. (Most) meal plans don’t cover dog food.

Pet food might seem cheap (59 cents per can on average), but your pet is going to have to eat every day- at least once, but sometimes twice. Sure, you can cheat once in a blue moon and give your puppy some leftover chicken or something, but too much of that will make him sick. Aside from pet food expenses, you’ll also have to choke up some cash for kitty litter. And trash bags. And flea collars/treatments.

8. Animals are really good at escaping.

Ever heard of the Bronx Zoo cobra that escaped a few months ago and wasn’t found for weeks? That’s just one of thousands of stories about animals who escape from their exhibits, cages or yards. Truth is, animals don’t like to be locked up- they want to explore! Keeping them cooped up in a little room all day is only going to make them want to escape more. Still not scared? Two words: pet snakes.

Truth is, animals are great and we’re lucky to have them, but why not wait until you’re out of school and can provide to give them the happy, healthy lives they deserve?

What do you think about schools allowing pets? Would you ever bring a fluffy (or finny) companion to college with you? Let us know!

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  1. Melany says:

    Are you suggesting this for anyone in college? I have a large dog and live in a nice size 1 bedroom apartment. We have plenty of room and go walking and go to the park every day. We meet people at the park and he is social enough to take places with me. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to have an animal you will be fine and truly enjoy this experience. Obviously if you fear the "work" and are not that responsible, don't do it. But I feel like this author is exaggerating a bit about all of the cons – most of which require you to get up and clean, which is not really so hard.

  2. jgrhodes says:

    I agree with @Melany. This article seems completely one sided and exclusive to the authors own personal feelings on the matter. I get the feeling she had a roommate with a cat/dog/lizard who was a too lazy to take proper care of the pet and that experience has put her off the idea.

    Has this been a pro/con article I think it would have come across a lot better than it did. As it is, it sounds whiny and prejudice. Food for thought.

  3. Brittany says:

    I brought my dog with me when I went to college, dorms generally don't allow dogs so I moved into a building that was closer to my classes than the dorms. My dog did not inhibit me from socializing at all, and I was able to take her with me to many social events. She loved being on campus with all the people to pet her and pigeons to chase, our 560sqft one bedroom was plenty of room for her. She was actually a great for meeting new people as well. Plus keeping an apartment clean with a dog really isn't that hard.

    My biggest counter arguement was she was great for me when I was in college because I was forced to get outside and take mini-breaks because I had to take her out/play with her, she was (and still is) a great stress relief.

  4. becca says:

    after 3 years at university, i finally found a pet-friendly apartment and was able to bring my cat with me. i live in a bachelor apartment, but it's more than big enough for the two of us. there's no smell, and i get plenty of social time (especially with my boyfriend and my friends that live in strict pet-free environments and love to get a little cuddle time). yes, pets can be expensive, but when you have a little living being counting on you, you learn to budget. i know such a small space wouldn't be good for a puppy, but i couldn't be happier living here with my kitty.

  5. rodney says:

    My problem with college kids having pets is that most are irresponsible and don’t realize how much work it takes to care for them. A dog is not a 4-year buddy you can pal around with and then leave behind when you move on to bigger and better things — many people find themselves moving all over after college, whether it be to grad school or the peace corps or a new job, or back home. If you can care for your pet (and that means food, medical, and social time) while in school, AND care for them after wards, for the next 10+ years, then by all means get a pet. But I knew a lot of cats that were brought into off campus apartments, made to get high, and then abandoned when graduation time came. It’s really sad and, unfortunately, a lot of people in college are still pretty immature.

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  8. Heidi - Bridgewater State says:

    Just so we're clear, I wrote this article from the perspective of someone living in a small, strict DORM ROOM. Off-campus apartments/shared houses are awesome and are MUCH more ideal for raising pets.

  9. Jessie says:

    People really bring pets to college?

  10. the jr says:

    the number one reason is because they die

  11. Christina says:

    Every argument in this article could be fixed with a committee deciding whether or not the pet and owner are suitable for the dorm. Oh look, the colleges that allow pets have this.

    Also, from someone who has kept fish, lizards, snakes, and reptiles since she was a kid, tank cleaning is not boring, nor is it all that time-consuming. Stay on top of it regularly and you won't have to worry about spending 3 hours of your Saturday scrubbing a few months' worth of algae off the glass.

  12. xens says:

    Umm no, fishes and hamsters are pretty great pets to keep, and the latter definitely don't run around the room all the time- that's why they have cages. I only let my hamster out onto my own bed and if he freaks my roommate out, I get him back inside his cage. And cleaning took about an hour at max for my fish tank and hamster cage.

    I recommend anyone in college dorms like me for having guinea pigs/gerbils/hamsters/fishes if you can keep your room well-cleaned and ventilated.

  13. Taylor says:

    The fish comment was uncalled for, as well as the antisocial one. Not everyone thinks fish are boring, and also, I have two 5 gallon fish tanks that take me less than an hour to clean. Educate yourself before making biased posts such as these. It sounds like this was written by somebody who, for some reason, hates all species. You may have written it from the perspective of living in a college dorm room, but I would enjoy taking care of all of my animals regardless of my living situation, and I'm pretty sure that we all know that dog food isn't free. It may have some good points, but it is very one-sided, indeed.

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