5 Things You Must Know About Owning a Dog in College

College is tough no matter what your circumstances are, but having a dog while in college can make things especially tough. There were several things I didn’t think of and I didn’t prepare for when it came to being a dog owner in college. Here are some important things to consider:

Finding people to live with is harder

I desperately wanted to live with one of my best girl friends my sophomore year, but she was allergic to dogs. She didn’t want to be sneezing all the time and I didn’t want to have to confine Gatsby to only my room and keep him banned from all communal areas of our house. She and I weren’t able to live together.

Finding a place to live is harder

Unfortunately, many college campus apartments are “not pet friendly”, or if they are, they allow cats and not dogs. Having Gatsby always made finding a house or apartmentmuch harder. Because I knew I would need to be coming home throughout the day to let Gatsby go to the bathroom and exercise him, I always tried to live as close to campus as possible. More about this in #4.

There’s almost always an extra pet security deposit 

I lived in both a house and an apartment in college with Gatsby and both places charged me an extra pet security deposit. This is not uncommon so don’t feel like you’re getting ripped off if your landlord requires one. Landlords use pet security deposits so that if the pet damages the house in any way (scratches up the floor, leaves a urine odor) charges come out of that deposit instead of the regular deposit. At each place I paid an extra $300 pet fee. Gatsby is cleaner than most people so I’ve always gotten all my money back, but that extra money was still on hold until I moved out.

Having guests over is harder 

I was by no means a huge partier in college, but having any sort of a large gathering at my house in college was out of the question. Parties in college grow by word of mouth very quickly and before you know it there’s 20 people in your house and you don’t know half of them. While I trusted my closest friends, who’s to say a drunk stranger I don’t know wouldn’t try to feed my dog beer? That’s not cool by me.

Your class schedule needs to be spacious 

A lot of my friends arranged their schedule so they could be on campus all day and get their classes done without going back and forth from home to campus several times. For me, as a dog owner, that wasn’t an option. As I mentioned before I always went out of my way to find a place that was as close to campus as possible. While other kids were going to the coffee shop and catching up with friends in between classes, I was jetting home to take Gatsby for a walk.

It helps if your job is flexible 

While I was in college I had two pretty low-key jobs. The most frequent one was nannying for a 10 year old girl. I picked her up from school, made her a snack, and made sure she did her homework. At the most I was gone for 4 hours working. I arranged it with the parents that on select Fridays I could bring Gatsby with me because the little girl adored him and loved playing with him. I was getting paid and the little girl was exercising my dog, it worked out great. 

I loved having my dog in college, but it was a huge responsibility and not always easy. Here are 5 things you NEED to know about having a dog in college.

Did you have a dog in college?

Was there anything that surprised you?

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  • Owning a pet is definitely a commitment. I didn’t have a pet during college but Marty had just gotten Roscoe when we first started dating so Roscoe became a part of my life, too. I’ll admit – I’m not a dog person…I grew up with cats so I tend to prefer them; however, I’m realizing that I may just not be a pet person. I appreciate how adorable pets are but, especially now that we have Charlotte, I struggle with the commitment of ownership. Rosoce needs walked, fed, groomed (from time to time), dogsat while we’re on trips, cleaned up after on an almost daily basis (he sheds TERRIBLY – I find his hair stuck to Charlotte’s face all the time) – I know I sound super negative in regards to him but it just wasn’t something I was expecting to be ‘stuck’ with…

    :X

    • carrie

      i actually love that you’re saying this because i think so many people love the IDEA of pets, but as you mentioned there are a lot of things about pets that can be hasslesome and annoying and for some people that’s just not their “thing” or not somewhere they want to exert a lot of their daily energy. my boyfriend loves dogs and loves gatsby of course, but he’s a very VERY clean person so when he and i moved in together it was a big adjustment for him having gatsby’s toys laying around, having his slobber on the floor, and especially having his hair all over the place!
      also, i loved cats growing up and then around junior high i started having really bad allergic reactions around them, it still makes me sad i’ll never be able to have a kitty again:(

  • I didn’t have a dog in college but yes it is so much harder to find an apartment that’s pet friendly! Luckily you can normally filter by ‘allows dogs’ on most sites so I didn’t have to wade through a bunch of ones that aren’t dog-friendly. And the deposit at our current place was $600 per dog (and only $200 refundable)!!! So crazy! Good thing we didn’t get both dogs at once or we’d be screwed. We’ve also found that a lot of places charge ‘pet rent.’ Our dogs are also SUPER TIMID rescues so it’s hard to even have like three friends over for a lowkey night because our dogs bark for a good twenty minutes, then they bark every time any one of our guests moves after that. Haha.

    • carrie

      only $200 back?! YIKES! it’s funny you mention your dogs barking when one of your guests moves! gatsby is similar! he’ll get up and follow them around with this look on his face that says, “umm, did i say you could move?” lol

  • I have ALWAYS wanted a dog sooo bad!! My mom never let us have one and now that I’m married our landlord says no pets haha but I hear pet rent can be pretty crazy! If/when I DO get a dog, I am for sure getting a hypo allergenic one because apparently they don’t shed? This is sll good stuff to know, though! And even though my roommate is my husband it’s still helpful! haha he does not like dogs but I think I can convince him 🙂
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    • carrie

      hey candace! thanks for stopping by! if you’re looking hypoallergenic check out golden-doodles (cross between a golden retriever and a poodle). it sounds weird i know but trust me they’re adorable! i’m always skeptical about animals that are “supposedly” hypoallergenic, buuuut the girl friend i mentioned in #1 that i wanted to live with actually got a golden doodle and few years back and has zero allergy problems! in terms of convincing the husband, i say bring a puppy home one day and and then beg for forgiveness, much easier than going through the convincing process!… (only kidding, kind of) 🙂