Owning A Dog In College: Are You Ready?

Are you ready to care for a dog? Maybe it’s your coworker’s puppy that has you swooning, maybe your neighbor has a cute dog, or maybe you’re just #SingleAF and want a little cutie to cuddle with or to calm you down when school has got you stressed. I get it. There’s a reason I have my best bud with me at school, too. But before I get into my experience with owning a dog in college and how I made that leap, you all need to look over this checklist and determine if you are truly, seriously and completely ready to have a dog in college.

  • You’re almost never late to school or work due to not waking up on time. Trust me when I say dogs have to pee RIGHT away in the morning, so being a morning person is important.
  • You know how to time-manage and rarely feel like you’re running out of time on an assignment. There will be times when your dog needs your attention right away, and you will have to be there for them.
  • Your stress levels related to school aren’t through the roof so your dog will be able to be a top priority.
  • You have an extra $100-$300 a month to spend on grooming (dogs need baths, too), veterinary visits and bills, food, treats, toys and whatever they chew up if you get an actual puppy.
  • You have at least $500 at time of adoption for adoption fees, shots, their first vet visit, a dog bed, leash and collar and poop bags. So many poop bags.
  • You have an extra 1-2 hours a day (3+ for puppies or energetic/large breeds) for proper cuddles, feeding, walks and basic training. Not to mention extras like dog parks, hikes and trips to the pet store or vet.
  • You take care of yourself like, eating three meals a day, self-care, keeping a tidy space, etc. This one might sound silly but how you care for yourself has a lot to do with how you will care for another being.
  • You aren’t too busy– you can be a busy bee, but if your social calendar barely allows you six hours of sleep on average, you just might not have time for a dog.

Dogs are living, breathing companions and require a lot more time and attention that you might think. This checklist is not intended to scare you, but to prepare you if you’re considering adopting a pup of your own. And, as you can see, there is a LOT to think over. Just keeping it real. If you have most of the things in the checklist down pat, it might just be time to head to your local shelter and become one lucky pooch’s new BFF.

My experience

How do I know all of this? I’ve had my dog with me at school for two years. My situation is unique, as it’s my childhood dog that I brought to school with me and is an ESA, Emotional Support Animal, certified. She’s twelve years old and keeps me sane throughout all the craziness of being a full-time, working student. Yes, I still go out to the bars! But do I go out 3-4 times a week until 1 am? Definitely not. Yes, I have a 20 hours/week job! But there’s no way I could care for her if I added even one more hour. Owning a dog is all about balance, and chances are if you’ve pretty much found your rhythm in all the areas of your life already, you’re ready to add in some extra love and friendship to that rhythm.

One last tip, and it’s a big one.

Alright, you’ve made it this far. I have one more tip that is my biggest and best: Don’t. Get. A. Puppy. Just don’t do it unless you don’t work much or are a part-time student and have the extra time, patience and energy to housebreak, socialize and train an energetic puppy. For some dogs, this takes a few years! There are literally millions of furballs available at shelters around the nation that had previous owners or have been in foster homes who are already trained and ready for your love! Many of them are only a couple months older than the 8-week-old you’re swooning after. Of course, all the information in this article is relative to the breed that catches your eye. For example, a chihuahua doesn’t necessarily require an hour or more of walks every day like a larger dog would. To put things into perspective, I have a pitbull back home that my mom and I adopted when I was in high school, and there is NO way I could give him the energy and patience he requires (even though he is six years old).

I hope this was helpful to anyone looking into getting a pooch of their own and was able to shed some light on some of the realities of being a dog parent. Remember that you have your entire life to own a dog! If now is your time, you’ll know it deep down.

Follow me on my socials!

Instagram: @dgwithlove
Twitter: @dg_thatsme for all the cute dog pics and more. XO!

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