Walking to class every day, I see a lot of dogs on campus. This makes me extremely giddy because my most precious furry friend, Ozzie, passed away two years ago. I miss him very much, so I get excited every time I see a four legged fuzzy buddy.
But as happy as this sighting makes me, these dogs are being walked by college students. Even though in certain housing residences pets are allowed, I don’t think that college students should have dogs.
Depending on what kind of dog a college student owns, the dog requires its own level of care. A chihuahua can stay inside the apartment all day and use a puppy pad without much thought to the college student other than changing the puppy pad and feeding the chihuahua daily, but small dogs are usually loud and college students have roommates and neighbors. It is also not guaranteed that the dogo will use the puppy pad accurately, which is an additional stress to the college-aged owner. Coming home to a doggy-made mess is the last thing a college student wants to deal with after class.
Conversely a large dog like a husky, needs to be let out to do its business multiple times a day. The extra responsibility of making sure to go back home between classes to carve out roughly ten minutes to put the dog’s leash on and go outside with it to go potty can get stressful with a full day of classes. But that’s not all a big dog needs. They need to get plenty of exercise, so that is extra time that needs to be scheduled in order for the dog to stay healthy. Ozzie was a black lab, so he needed to run around a lot, but it was easy at my parents’ house because my parents have a large fenced-in backyard. So while we as a family did other things inside of the home we could let Ozzie play and listen for him until he wanted to come in. I don’t know a college student with a fenced-in backyard.
These aren’t the only items that need to be considered when having a dog in college, the amount of food a big dog eats can be a considerable cost. A bag of food for a large dog ranges from $20-$50. If a student buys a bag of food once a month during the ten months of school, they’re spending $200-$500.
An additional consideration is the grooming. This can apply to small or large dogs. Long-haired chihuahuas and bichon frises are relatively small dogs, but require a large amount of grooming. The same can be said of huskies and Australian shepherds, which are large breeds and have double coats that require care. The undercoats shed twice a year to get ready for the hot weather in spring and to prepare for the cold come the fall. With the shedding from the large breeds, this means a lot of clean up, and as I’ve said previously, college students do not have the luxury of time to vacuum the dog hair in their apartment every day. Regular grooming is also required. These treatments can become expensive and time consuming. In a college students life, chill time is essential and on a Saturday, I do not want to be going to the groomers with my dog.
I know that the college students with dogs love them and do their best to take care of them, but now is not the time in our young lives to take on this responsibility. To those who have emotional support or service dogs, rock on.