With summer weather right around the corner, you might be thinking about getting a dog to enjoy it with!
You might also be wondering how getting a dog while still in college might affect your life. Or if it’s a good idea to adopt a fluffy little friend.
This post will discuss what it’s like having a dog in college.
I’m speaking from my own expedience and the experiences of my dog owning friends who I’ve talked to!
You may have a completely different experience than I have and that’s okay! This post is meant to point out potential pitfalls that are associated with owning a dog in college.
If you’ve read more of my posts, you know that I am the proud dog mom of two adorable pups!
I got my first dog, Rosco, when I was a junior in college, he is a 40 pound Australian Shepard who has brought so much joy and has helped me get through the devastating death of my little brother. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for this fluffy little monster.
My second dog is Charlie! I got her right around the time I started getting my Master’s degree. She is a 7-pound Morkie (Yorkie/Maltese mix.) I got her mainly to keep Rosco company when I was busy with grad school, and I’ve always been in the camp of people who think dogs should be in pairs so they always have a buddy.
My two dogs get along beautifully. Charlie is FEARLESS and Rosco is more reserved but SO SMART. Charlie is now a year and a half year old and Rosco is around 3!
I have never regretted getting either of my dogs. They are one of the most important parts of my life and all of my life plans include them as a prominent part of it!
I choose my living situation with them in mind, I choose who I allow into my life with them in mind and I’m choosing my future career with them in mind.
Don’t get me wrong, not everything revolves around my pups, but I fully believe that if you choose to adopt anything you need to have them for the rest of their life and your life plans need to accommodate that.
Living With a Dog
In college there are a few things to consider when living with a dog!
In college you’ll likely have to live with roommates! Your dog will have to get along with them and be a part of their life also! You can’t lock your dog in your room all day and expect it to be happy. It’ll need to be allowed in the rest of the house, so if your roommates aren’t okay with that you either need to move out or not get a dog.
It’ll also be harder to find housing in the future! Any place you rent or anyone you live with for the next 10-15 years will need to be okay with you having a dog.
I made sure to wait to get a dog until after I was confident I could live on my own or with family that already knew and loved Rosco.
You’ll also have to pay “pet rent” and a pet deposit in most places that you rent. This can really add up over time!
In my current apartment I have to pay $25/month in pet rent and had to pay a $500 deposit when I moved in.
It’s important to make sure that you are financially ready to pay a little extra before you commit to a dog.
If you have a dog, be prepared to clean your carpets a lot! Even if your dog doesn’t have accidents in the house, dog hair and their nails can do a lot of damage to a carpet.
I made sure to get an apartment with hard floors so I didn’t have to worry about that!
Once I moved in I put my own rugs down in high traffic areas so that they don’t slip on the hard floors. It’s a lot cheaper to replace a rug than an entire carpeted room, trust me on that.
Costs of Having a Dog
It costs a surprising amount to own a dog and make sure they stay healthy! Make sure you can budget that in when having a pup come into your life!
Depending on where you live vet costs will vary! I drive back to my hometown (about a 1 hour drive) to go to the vet for both my dogs. Vet costs are almost half the price there than in the city I live in.
Your dog will have to got to the vet about once a year to get vaccines and a check up. For me this usually costs about $100 for each dog.
You’ll also have to get them fixed if they aren’t already and that can be very costly!
This was my most surprising cost. I really didn’t expect dog food to cost as much as it does!
As a disclaimer, we found out that Rosco has an EXTREMELY sensitive stomach. That means he can’t eat cheap dog food or else he gets really sick.
So I personally spend about $50 on dog food a week for both dogs. To some of you that sounds crazy and excessive. That’s okay, I don’t care what you think about that. But if you end up getting a dog and they need special food to be healthy, you need to be able to get that food!
If you’re not willing to get something for your dog that they need, either because you can’t afford it or you aren’t willing to spend extra money on your dog, you should not have a dog.
Just be prepared that you might need to spend a little extra money on your dog!
Dog Owner Lifestyle
No matter what, having a dog is going to change your life! It’s up to you whether that’s in a good or bad way!
Your social life is going to change is a few ways.
You’re going to be much more likely to go somewhere if you can take your dog. I tell my friends that if they want me to be a for-sure for an event, make it so I can take my dogs.
You also can’t stay out and party all night anymore. Us dog owners will need to make it home every night to take our dogs out to go to the bathroom in the morning unless you have roommates that can help you out!
You might find yourself making new friends when you have a dog!
The people you meet at the dog park might actually become your closest friends! Think of it like setting your dogs up on a play date and then talking to the other dog parents.
You might also find that some of your friends don’t like dogs and don’t want to be around yours. This could cause a rift in your friendship and make it difficult to hang out.
If you meet someone and they don’t like dogs, that will be an issue. Or if you both have dogs and they don’t all get along this can cause some problems too!
You’ll also have to explain to your partner that your dogs sleep on the bed with you and they’ll have to be okay with that!
Should You Get a Dog in College?
That’s really up to you!
If you are ready to share your life with a furry friend for the next decade, and are ready to take on the responsibility that goes along with that. Then yes!
If any of the things on this list gave you pause or made you worry, then maybe not! It’s better to wait a year or two until you’re out of college and have more stability than to get a dog now and end up giving them to a pound.
Having a dog in college is great if it’s the right choice for you! I hope this post has given you a better idea of the questions you should ask and the things you should consider before adopting!