3 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Dog as a College Student

Do you find yourself scrolling through dog Instagram accounts for hours on end? Or maybe watching endless puppy vines and videos? Do you somehow find yourself at Zilker Park every weekend watching all the dogs play with each other, wishing one would come over and lick your face for just a second? Puppy fever is real, and although you may think that getting a furry friend is the only cure, there are a few things to consider before making this life-changing decision as a college student.

Jacqueline Martinez

Scheduling/Lifestyle

Puppies and dogs take a lot of time, so one thing to consider before adopting a dog is your schedule. They are a major time commitment, requiring constant attention.They require additional patience when being house trained, and this experience can be extremely stressful. All dogs are very active, and can be destructive when bored. It is important to make sure that they are not left home alone for long periods of time and get plenty of exercise, which is why one must consider the time commitment to play with and walk the dog every day.

Finances

We all know the financial struggles that students face while in college with the burden of tuition, books, housing, and money for food and other living expenses. If you add a dog into the mix, the financial stresses will only increase. According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of care for a small dog is $420, a medium dog $620 and a large dog $780. When considering adopting a member to add to your family, you have to remember that you will essentially be their parents, therefore you are required to provide them everything they need to live and be healthy.

This means vet visits, shots, flea preventative, food, groomers appointments, toys and other accessories every dog needs to grow.  Additionally, you must pay a fee for adopting the dog, which varies depending on where you adopt and the health/age of the dog, and additional fees at apartment complexes, whether it's a deposit fee of $400 like at University Estates, or a monthly fee of $25 like at Rio West. It is important to budget your finances and plan for not only what is to be expected when you bring the little munchkin home, but also to have extra money for those unexpected emergencies. Think about how much your parents have paid to raise you, and put that in perspective for yourself with dog lenses on can you handle it?

Living Situation

While living in a cramped apartment is perfectly suitable for a college student, it is not the ideal living situation for a dog. Dogs need space to roam, run and play. Luckily Austin is one of the most dog friendly cities, with multiple parks and outdoor places for dogs of all sizes to explore and exercise! Zilker park is populated by dogs every weekend, running around catching frisbees, and making friends. Austin also has tons of restaurants with pet friendly outdoor patios, so your pup can accompany you while you’re out and about. With other unique places like Woof Gang Bakery, Austin becomes a more ideal place. Since dogs come in many different breeds with many different personality traits and temperaments, it is important to research the type of dog breed that will best fit your lifestyle. “People always comment on how cute Peanut is, but they don’t live with him, so every time someone tells me they want a dog I tell them to take care of mine first,” says second year nutrition major Abby Bazan.

If you have a roommate it is important for you to discuss the idea of bringing a four-legged roommate into your current living situation. Even though it might the cutest critter on the planet, a dog can easily stir up conflict if there is a lack of communication. “When your roommate has a dog, it unintentionally becomes yours too, especially when they’re out all day and you end up being a full time babysitter for it,” says second year advertising major Stephanie Gonzales.  

Although dogs are cute as can be, they are major long-term responsibilities that require careful planning, consideration, sacrifice and commitment. Before deciding to own a dog make sure you are 110% sure that you are ready to add a new family member to your life!