Leaving for college means separating from your family and friends. While everyone seems to consciously think about this, something else is forgotten: pets. Those trusty companions who you return home to every night will no longer be what you return home to. The thought of heading to college and leaving your childhood pet might be terrifying. While you can’t truly replace them, there are some pets out there that can keep you company in college.
First: Some Things to Consider
- Make sure to check with your housing policies before bringing in a living creature.
- Animals are a financial responsibility. You’ll have to make room for your pet in your budget so you can afford supplies, food, and vet visits.
- Before you search for a pet why not try taking care of a plant. If you can keep it alive and nurtured for an entire semester, then you may have what it takes to move on to a pet. If the plant starts wilting or you forget about it… maybe you should second guess this pet ownership thing.
- Before you visit a pet store, find your local animal shelter and see if they might have what you’re looking for. These animals are looking for home.
- Some shelters offer foster programs. This gives you a chance to see first hand if you can handle the responsibilities of a pet.
Fish are a simple pet to keep. They don’t take up much time or space, and are relatively inexpensive. They require a clean bowl weekly and a feeding once a day. You can spruce up their tanks with colored pebbles or little decorations. While they aren’t exactly exciting or responsive, they make easy company. You can talk to your fish for hours, and they’ll never leave!
Hermit crabs are another small pet. They can live in small pebble-bottomed tanks and need fresh food and water everyday. They do require some added attention, as each time they grow a new shell will be needed for them. Embrace the your inner hermit (that part of you that wants to hide inside and watch Netflix) and buddy up with a hermit crab.
Here’s another familiar pet: the guinea pig. Guinea pigs require more attention than the previous pets mentioned. They’re sociable pets, and usually do better in pairs. This means you may end up spending twice as much on food and taking twice as much space. They also need to be trained to become accustomed to your handling and supervised if you let them roam around small rooms. These are great pets if you want to be an involved pet owner.
Sugar gliders are nocturnal marsupials who require tall spaces. These buddies like to climb, and as their name suggests, jump and glide. Sugar gliders can be expensive and have complicated diets. Make sure you do plenty of research before bringing home a sugar glider. They can live up to about 13 years, so they’ll be sticking with you for awhile!
These are another nocturnal pet. Hedgehogs are generally shy and take some time to become adjusted to you. It may also take a bit to become accustomed to these prickly little creatures. They’re small, like guinea pig, and require temperatures ranging from 70˚- 80˚ F. Their upkeep is relatively simple, with cage cleanings about once a week and fresh food and water daily.
If you’re living off campus, this might be an option for you. If you must do own a cat or dog, save this responsibility for when you’re an upperclassmen and living with a yard! Although puppies and kittens are adorable, you’ll have to train them. We suggest giving a home to an equally adorable older cat or dog from the local shelter.
We hope this has helped you choose your next furry roommate. If nothing struck your fancy, you can always own a pet rock!
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