The Pros and Cons of Having a Pet in College

and why you should seriously consider having one

College isn’t easy. Though surrounded by new people to meet and new things to experience, I feel stressed because I feel out of place here at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to attending this university, I was somewhat aware of its wild party image but did not fully understand the extent to which the reputation holds truth. Ranked #2 party school in America, the school has appeared in world news for party riots.

As a relatively quiet individual with introvert tendencies, I felt out of place in a midst of people who are perpetually in party-mode…until Kiwi.

Having my fuzzy companion is comforting and soothing, which is not surprising. There are many benefits to owning a pet.

  • Lower risk of depression
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Higher levels of serotonin and dopamine (relaxation chemicals)
  • Reduction in feelings of loneliness

 

In addition, having a pet may help you live longer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have even found a link between pet ownership and heart health as pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

What are the cons of having a pet in college? The biggest problem is convenience. The responsibility of taking care of another living being can be difficult to carry out when you might not even be sure how to take care of yourself! If you are planning on having a pet, you must be sure that you know how to provide for your animal companion, which requires hours of research. Few things you must consider.

  •  Does your dorm or apartment allows pets? (pet-friendly colleges)
  •  Do you have proper conditions for your unique pet? (for example, rabbits are loving companions but require a lot of space!)
  • Can you claim responsibility for the lifespan of your animal?

Remember–all pets are not dogs. Even watching fish swim can reduce stress. For me, having an animal friend makes college much more pleasant. Besides providing companionship, my pet brings out kindness in me by reminding me that I am not the only one who matters. If your conditions allow, consider adopting an animal. Not only would you be easing yourself from loneliness and stress, you may relieve an animal the same.

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