Do You Need a Pet?

Every time I walk on The Oval at Ohio State University, I manage to see at least one dog, usually a puppy. I see pictures of my friends getting cats and dogs on Facebook and those of us still in the dorm buying fish. Pets are a comfort in an unsure, new environment and are proven to help mental health. However, many college students don’t think about the repercussions of adopting a pet. Many factors go into what pet would work best for you, and this article is meant to give you some outlines for that process.

  1. Consider what you want. Do you want a dog? A cat? How much free time do you have? A dog, especially a puppy, takes much more time than a cat or fish. How much maintenance do you have time for? Take a while to consider your budget, time and money to determine what would work best for your lifestyle.
  2. Consider fostering an animal. Fostering is a good way to find out how much time you really have to take care of an animal. Fostering is no obligation to adopt but can be a great way to acclimate to having a specific pet in your life.
  3. Don’t get an exotic pet. As cute as teapot pigs, tortoises, and sugar gliders are, college is not the right time to get these pets. Many of these little guys get abandoned within the first year of ownership, and that’s not a burden a student needs to have. Their upkeep is much more strenuous than you would think.
  4. Consider your roommates if you have them. Do they want the same kind of pet as you? Do they have any allergies? How often would they be home? Are they willing to split the responsibilities? Talk with them about what your plans are.

If you have any questions or concerns about adopting a pet, contact your local animal shelter about their policies and to get more information about their pets.

-Lizz Birkhoff

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