Pros and Cons of purchasing a pet

By Kent Aubry

Buying a puppy or another animal can seem like a great idea for many college students. However, this decision should not be taken lightly and comes with a lot of responsibility. Pets can provide an array of benefits to its owners. A pet provides companionship, security and can positively affect the owner’s health. On average, pet owners visit the doctor’s office less frequently compared to those who do not own pets. People who own pets are found to be more active, and one significant finding is that pets can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Owning a pet can also decrease depression and antisocial behavior. Pets can help keep the owner’s mind off of what is bothering them and can help calm them down when stressed out. Having a pet in college can bring added benefits as well. Typically college towns have a lot of people in them, making them ideal to train a dog to be sociable. It will be easier for the pet to accept strangers into its home if it is frequently around new people. The benefits of owning a pet comes with some drawbacks. Pets require time and attention. The busy life of a college student does not always allow this. Class schedules, social activities and work can interfere with a student’s spare time. Special scheduling will be needed in order to ensure the pet is getting enough attention. Owners also need to set aside extra money for animal expenses. Owning a pet is not a one-time payment and costs can add up in a hurry. Pet food, grooming and trips to the veterinarian are all expenses that will require additional financial planning. Travis Beasley, a senior studying psychology, adopted a puppy from the Humane Society this year. After the initial payment of $125 for shots and spaying, Travis also dishes out about $50 per month in additional costs for dog food and other supplies. Owning an animal that requires a lot of attention can alter social life and sleeping habits. Sleeping in is no longer an option if a barking puppy needs food on a set schedule or needs to go outside. College parties and weekend events may not be an option if a pet needs cared for. Finding an apartment is a difficult task by itself. Adding to the difficulty is finding a place that allows pets. It is common for landlords to restrict certain breeds of dogs or not allow pets of any kind. Some landlords add on “Pet fees” in order to protect the apartment from damage done by the pet. In Travis’ case, the Humane Society also required additional documentation providing information on his current residence due to a bounce-back of animals that landlords would not allow. The added struggle of finding a place does not end here. It is also important to make sure it is accepted by the roommates involved. Not all people enjoy the company of a pet. It can also be seen as an intrusion of their personal space. Roommates should expect that the house or apartment may be damaged because of the pet. Also, additional help with walking and cleaning up after the pet may be required by roommates. All roommates need to come to an agreement before a pet is brought home. Although it seems there are more cons than pros, a pet can be a great addition into a person’s life. Pets of all types can bring happiness, companionship, security and added health benefits to owners. It is important, however, to plan ahead to avoid getting a pet at the wrong time. Consider the financial and time management aspect fully before making the decision.