Whether you're a kid or a grown adult, there isn't anything quite like the love of a pet. They're one of the few things in life that give constant comfort and unconditional love. A study from the American Psychological Association found that more than 40 percent of college students reported anxiety and 36 percent said they had feelings of depression.
Some might argue that pets could help improve the emotional stability of those students. Others would argue that pets (especially cats and dogs) require a lot of time, responsibility and money — three things college students generally lack.
However, a dog might isn't your only option for a loyal companion. So, what's the right pet for you? While there isn't a right or wrong answer, here are some options.
What should you look for when trying to find a pet for college? Many universities and colleges don't allow large pets like dogs. It's also nice to have a pet that's quiet, fits in a small space, is easy to take care of and can be alone while you're in class. Here are 10 of the best pets for college students.
Fish are awesome pets for college students to have for a few reasons. They're quiet but add a lot of color and life to a dorm or apartment. Even if your school doesn't allow pets, they'll usually make an exception for fish. They require very little attention, live in a small tank that won't cause damage to the apartment and are fun to look at. If you're a busy college student and don't have time to keep up with a larger animal, a fish (or a few) might be the perfect pet for you. Consider these types of fish for your apartment:
If you're looking for a more affectionate pet, then a turtle might be a good option. They occupy a small space and will fit in your apartment nicely. Turtles typically require small- to medium-sized aquariums and don't need to be fed that often. You don't have to take them on walks but you can let them roam around your place. And you don't have to worry about walking your turtle, which is another plus. Feeding them is easy and they don't require that much food each day. Here are some turtles to consider for college students:
Some things to consider with turtles are their diet, vet care and life span. Some breeds of turtles require specialized diets so that's something to keep in mind before buying. Turtles can live upwards of 30 years so you should be prepared to have them for a while. If your turtle gets sick (knock on wood) then you'll need to find a specialized vet to help it.
Looking for a furry friend? Well, then, look no further than a hamster. They're adorable pets and another great choice for college students. Due to their size, they typically require small enclosures and don't have a complicated diet. Hamsters are very interactive animals and should be given toys to play with. Tunnels and wheels are a crowd favorite.
While they'll entertain themselves, they're a more affectionate pet and will grow sad if ignored for too long. They're fairly cheap to purchase and the upkeep isn't expensive, either. Plus, these guys are nocturnal, so you won't keep them awake when you're up late “studying." One thing to keep in mind for hamsters is their life span — they typically live for two to three years. If you're looking for a long-term companion, hamsters might not be the pet for you.
Everyone has different feelings about them but lizards can actually make great pets. They won't occupy a ton of space, so just find some room in the corner and you'll be good to go.
One of the best pros to getting a pet lizard is that they're really easy to feed with plants. They're self-sufficient, meaning you won't have to worry about them while you're out all day, either. However, if you have a roommate, you'll want to make sure they're OK with you getting a pet lizard first! Here are some breeds to consider:
Hermit crabs are cool creatures that make great companions and are easy to take care of in college. They're easy to maintain and can even eat a lot of common human food. Bonus!
You'll just need to buy a small aquarium with enough room for them to venture out and about. Getting their home just right will require some time. The temperature of the enclosure will need to be watched.
Hermit crabs are another solid option for college students looking for pets that don't require much maintenance. Plus, they'll bring you back to those summers spent on the boardwalk. Simpler times!
Chinchillas are another great option for college students as they're slightly more affectionate and cuddly than hamsters. They need similar housing and only typically take up a small space in your home.
They're self-cleaning, as well, which is a bonus, you just have to make sure to keep ash or sand in their cage for this. Chinchillas want love so you should play with and love it often.
Similar to their reptile friends, snakes are one of the best, low-maintenance pets for college students. They can live in a small enclosure and don't require much attention at all. They're a great option for people with roommates as they're quiet.
Their feeding schedule is as simple as it comes — they need to be fed twice a week. But you should be comfortable feeding them mice. Here are some snake breeds to think about:
Have high ceilings? Why not consider a bird? Their cages typically expand upwards leaving plenty of space in your apartment. Birds come in many breeds, such as canaries, parrots and finches.
Birds are incredibly smart animals and can be loving to their owners. While in-between studying, teach your bird a cool new trick or give them a pet. Keep in mind that different birds are more or less affectionate.
If you're looking for a cuddly pet but can't have a dog, look no further! Guinea pigs are very cuddly companions. They come in a variety of colors and have a lot of personality.
While they do live in a small enclosure you'll have to make sure that it's escape-proof as these little creatures are master escape artists. They live fairly long lives compared to their furry friends. Here are a couple of breeds of guinea pigs to consider:
Hedgehogs are as adorable as they come despite their spikes. They're nocturnal creatures so they won't require much attention during the day. Hedgehogs also live in similar cages as hamsters and guinea pigs. They have simple and easy-to-maintain diets which are great for college students.
While it may take time for them to grow affectionate towards you, it will happen. With slow progress and playtime, your hedgehog will become a loyal and loving companion. They make adorable Insta posts too! They're considered exotic pets so bear that in mind before purchasing.
When you're in college, you don't want to have to worry about taking care of an animal all day and night. Although dogs and cats are great animals to have, they typically aren't the best pets for college students. But the 10 animals listed above are easy pets to take care of in college and won't break the bank, either. You have enough responsibilities as it is. Think simple when shopping for your next college companion.
And of course, you'll need to check with your landlord or apartment complex first and make sure the pet you want to get is allowed. There are a lot of rules about renting with pets that you'll want to check out beforehand. If you live in a dorm, don't even think about trying to sneak these guys in. If you're caught, they'll likely be taken away.