Pros and cons of having a pet in college

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

For many people, one of the hardest parts about going away to college is leaving their beloved pets at home. UC Berkeley housing policy says that unless you have a service or emotional support pet, you can’t bring your pet to the dorms. But as soon as you’re out of the dorms, you’re free to do whatever you want with your housing situation. Bringing a furry friend to school can be an appealing option, but there are several important things you need to consider before welcoming a pet into your home.

Get ready for housing hardship

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One of the hardest parts of bringing your pet to your apartment is finding an apartment that allows pets. The Berkeley housing crisis already makes it difficult to find a nice, affordable apartment — it’ll be even harder if you’re looking for one that is pet friendly. Of course, if you just want small pet like a turtle or a goldfish, it’ll be a nonissue. It’s difficult to find places that are cat friendly and almost impossible to find somewhere that lets you have dogs. As for more unusual pets, like ferrets? Illegal in California, so no chance there.

They’re always there for you

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Pets will greet you when you walk through the door, and they’ll never ditch you for their significant other. As long as you’re a good pet owner, your pet will love you unconditionally. There’s something incredibly uplifting about having something in your life that attacks you with physical or verbal affection every time you come home, no matter how badly you failed your midterm. And when you’re stressed, they make a great shoulder to cry on.

Pets are a time commitment

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

You have to be there for your pet in return. You can’t just leave your pet alone all day while you’re at school and then ignore them all night while you study. You have to make sure to take the time to give them your undivided attention, play with them and make sure they’re happy. You’ll need to have some toys for them to play with. And this is not just about dogs — cats need a lot of love too, even if they’re not as vocal about it. Make sure not to get a pet that needs more time than you can give them.

People will love coming over

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Uday Suresh/File

You’ll instantly become the friend with a pet, so all of your friends who wish they had pets will want to come over and play with said pet. This is perfect, because you get to see your friends and give your pet some much-needed attention at the same time. That being said, be aware that friends with pet allergies might not come over as much.

It’s expensive

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Having a pet is going to cost money. First, you’re going to have to buy the necessities. But it’s more than just food and litter. You’ll need to buy toys for them to play with while you’re at school. You’ll most likely need a collar, leash and/or something else to help them get exercise. You’re going to be buying food often, as well as treats. Plus, most pet-friendly apartments charge either a one time fee for a pet or a monthly pet rent.

Your pet can be a great stress relief

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Not only can playing with your pet be a great way to procrastinate, having your furry friend around can bring joy to your life in so many ways and brighten up your day. Even when you’re in the throes of studying, their presence can be grounding and a good way to destress. It’s hard to describe how much support an animal can bring to you, but they definitely do.

You adopt a pet for the rest of their life

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

Taylor Follett/Senior Staff

You cannot just have a pet for a semester or a year and then decide it’s too much for you. You can’t just adopt something while it’s a baby and decide it’s not cute once it’s an adult animal. Your pet will love you and depend on you and they will never understand if you abandon them. College living situations can be unstable, especially if you’re switching apartments yearly. Make sure to have a backup place, like your parents’ house, where your pet can stay if you end up not being able to take care of them. To your pet, you’re going to be their whole world. Make sure you are the kind of pet owner who deserves that love.

Taylor Follett is the assistant blog editor. Contact Taylor Follett at [email protected].