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Can you feel that? It’s the sensation of newfound freedom you’ve acquired since your first day in college. Even though you’re enjoying your independence, things are starting to get lonely. Sure, you have a couple friends, but you’re craving the love and affection of a BEST friend. More specifically, a FURRY best friend-a dog! Before you decide to add a dog to your family while you’re in college, here are some things to consider:

1. Think about your living situation

Do you live in a dorm? If so, then it’s highly likely that you won’t even be allowed to have a pet in your room. Check the rules of your dormitory to see what kinds of pets are permitted. Sometimes, pets such as fish are allowed, but dogs are a rarity.

If you live in an apartment or home, make sure there is ample space for your canine to be comfortable. Small dogs can usually fare well in apartments, but larger dogs will need a home with spacious rooms and a yard to run around in. You should also research the breed of dog to look at what kind of environments are essential for your four-legged friend to live.

2. You might become a full-time parent

Being a dog owner is almost like taking care of a kid, especially if you get a puppy. Puppies are just learning about the world around them, which means they will be prone to chewing, going “number two” wherever they desire, and constantly barking/whining. Extensive training is necessary to keep your home clean and your pet happy.

Even if your dog isn’t a puppy, most dogs want a lot of affection and attention (similar to children). This means that giving your dog the love it needs may cut in to some important study time. You’ll have to make sacrifices in order to properly care for your dog.

3. It’s a household matter

You may want a dog, but if you have roommates, they may not be so fond of the idea. Adding another life to your home can be difficult for some people, as they may begin to feel cramped or intruded upon. Additionally, you may be subconsciously pushing some responsibility on them. They may have to take care of the dog when you’re gone or clean more frequently than previously required. Sit down with your roommates and ask if it’s okay for you to get a dog before you make your decision. Respecting their judgement and consulting the household is a vital step in becoming a dog owner!

4. Your time is also their time

When you get a dog, your time is no longer independent. You are responsible for taking care of a life, which means when they need something, you have to provide for them. You can’t forget to feed or walk your dog because these are all essential elements to their survival. Attention is also necessary; you’ll need to spend adequate time with your pet so they aren’t neglected.

One of the best ways to make sure your dog is healthy and taken care of is to integrate them into your schedule. Plan your dinner at a regular time and feed your dog when you eat. When you exercise, take your dog along for a jog. When it’s time to study, you might consider using that time to let the dog nap. Merging your time with the dog’s time will ensure that you are both healthy.

5. Prepare for the pet store to munch on your wallet

Becoming a dog owner is going to drain your finances faster than you think. You’ll need to buy food, soap, shampoo, a brush, toys, and a bed among other necessities. Having an extra mouth to feed means you’ll need to spend your money wisely and save accordingly. In addition to the living necessities, you’ll need to think about vet bills. Your dog may need to be vaccinated for diseases or take medication for fleas. If your dog becomes sick or injured, the bills can add up quickly, so make sure you have money stored up solely dedicated to your furry friend.

6. Think of the impact on the dog if you move

In college, there are many options for places to live. If you have to move to a new location, they may not allow dogs. This means that you might have to find your dog a new home. Dogs need stability and a consistent environment in order to thrive. Be mindful of where you’re living or planning to live. If there’s a chance you might move in the future and have to leave your friend, it would be in the dog’s best interest to be in another home where they can be properly cared for.

7. Your quarters need to be tidy

When there are things on the floor, if your dog isn’t trained, he or she will see that as a perfect opportunity to chew things up. Your roommate definitely wouldn’t appreciate coming home to their items in a torn mess! Additionally, you’ll need to clean regularly to clear the area of any loose hair or debris that comes from your dog. This is important, especially if you have friends or family with pet hair allergies.

After carefully considering the factors involved in becoming a dog owner, your new pupper could end up being your best friend! All the time spent together and memories made could be well worth the effort. A dog isn’t for everyone, especially in college. But if you do decide to get one after weighing all the factors, this could be an amazing decision for you!