As a dog walker and student, I see the worst situations that dogs can be placed in. Cooped up in a crate all day, begging for attention and just wanting contact. Getting a dog in college seems like a great idea, but, truly, it isn't. Just to clarify, if you need a service dog for a disability or handicap, I'm not saying you shouldn't have a service dog. These animals are well-trained, used to resting for long periods of time when you go to class or when you have to leave them. They are made for your lifestyle. I am talking about the "OMG let's get a puppy!" people. I urge you— don't. Here are 8 reasons why.
1. A Sad Dog
Whenever you come back from class and see your furry companion looking up at you wagging its tail and licking your face, you'll feel joy. However, you left your dog alone all day. They had to sit there by themselves, wondering where you were. Separation anxiety in dogs is a real problem.
Dogs are expensive. Especially with a puppy, you have a lot of costs, not including the shoes they may eat and the things they may ruin with their little sharp teeth and pee or poop on. Veterinarian bills can also be very pricey. If your puppy decides to eat a sock or pair of underwear, it usually needs to be surgically removed because it will become an obstruction in their bowel— and that is pricey. Besides the emergencies, the annual cost of having a dog in the first year is up to $2,455. Each following year, it's estimated up to $1,967. $705 of this cost are vet visits alone, like routine vaccinations, de-worming, flea and tick prevention. The national average cost per course materials is $153. You could buy materials for 16 of your courses if you decided to ditch the dog.
You may think you have tons of time. Perhaps you aren't in a sport or a club and you're focused on your education. A dog needs to go out twice a day at least, and that's when they're potty-trained and a little older. On average, a dog needs between 30 minutes to two hours of exercise per day. This means running outside, playing and burning off energy. If you live somewhere cold, you're not going to want to take the dog out. If you have four classes a day, when will you take your dog out? Having another life on your hands becomes a challenge.
This animal needs you and without you, the animal can't survive. It's almost identical to having a kid. They need you to take care of them at all times and you must do everything for them. Locking them in a crate when you go to class isn't healthy for the dog. When a dog is under high stress, like being trapped in a crate all day, they can lose weight, hair and develop severe anxiety. You're hurting them while helping yourself.
Training a dog is essential, especially if you want to get a puppy. This means constantly reminding them of commands, immersing them in discipline and not slipping up. You need to remind them several times a day and have mini training sessions to ensure they don't forget. Set boundaries and remind them of these. If you leave at 8:00 a.m. for class and don't return until 5:00 p.m. after your other commitments, it's simply not fair to the animal.
6. The Work and Dog Balance
If you already leave on the weekdays for how many hours to go to class, working isn't realistic. And how are you going to pay for a dog when you can't even work? You can't bring the dog to work. You can't skip work. You need to start putting this dog before yourself and your needs. This can be a hard transition for most.
7. Living Situation Problems
If you have a roommate or live in a house with other people, a dog can cause a lot of problems. The first thing to think about is if one of those people is allergic. This can be miserable. If your dog is in the crate all day whining and barking, people have to deal with that. Whether they're trying to study or trying to sleep, it can be a very hard thing to deal with. It's not your roommates' or living-mates' responsibility to take your dog out or take care of your animal.
8. Social difficulties
How are you supposed to go out with friends or go to parties when you have another life to take care of? You can't bring them to the party. What if they get into something or get hurt? But you can't leave them all night. Dogs are dependent on YOU. They look to you for everything. This can be socially crippling if you can never go out.
Overall, having a dog is something that will cause more problems than happiness. Once you graduate and have a stable job, enough room and steady income, a dog is a logical step. It's so hard to wait, especially if you're a dog lover. But it's something that needs to be waited on. Consider getting a small animal, like a rabbit or hamster. Even a cat is a bit less maintenance than a dog. I promise it will cause more stress than good.