If you’ve always wanted to have your own pet but couldn’t convince your parents to let you have one while still living at home, coming to college may be the perfect time for you to get experience caring for a pet of your own. However, just because you can get a pet now doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. So to help you make the best decision both for yourself and for your potential pet, here are three tips for caring for a pet while in college.
Make Sure You Have The Time To Spare
Before you go to the shelter or pet store to pick out a pet to adopt, it’s important that you really think about whether you have the time to spend on a pet. Many college students lead very busy lives. Not only do they have classes, but many also work or have busy social lives. According to Briana Trusty, a contributor to HerCampus.com, high-maintenance pets like cats and dogs need to be checked in on and cared for a lot during the day. If they don’t get the care or attention they need, they could act out. Smaller pets don’t require as much attention and time investment, but still need to be cared for adequately. So if you have very little time to spare, now might not be the best time to bring a pet into your life.
Set Up A Routine
Once you have a pet, setting up a routine that you’ll follow together can help make your lives a whole lot easier. According to Sophia Camaya, a contributor to TheOdysseyOnline.com, getting your pet, especially a dog or cat, onto a schedule or routine can help make their days much easier to manage with an owner being gone most of the day. Also, if you stick to your routines, you won’t have to worry too much about whether you’ll be able to make it home at a certain time for a feeding or to let your pet out since it’s already set into your routine. And if you’re not sure what a routine for a pet might look like, you can find a lot of examples online that you can then tweak for your individual needs.
Use Your Trial Period Wisely
When you choose to buy or adopt a pet, you can often be given a trial period where you are allowed to take the pet home to see if you’re a good match. During this time, Marcie Lucia, a contributor to College Magazine, recommends that you be honest about how the demands and needs of your pet will affect your daily life. If you come to find that having a pet right now just isn’t going to work for you, don’t feel bad about taking advantage of that trial period to give the pet back. It will be much better for both of you to have the time and attention you need in order to have a happy and healthy life.
If you’re considering getting a pet while in college, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you make the best decision for you and your future pet family.