OPINION: A renter’s guide to dog ownership

Sometimes living with a pet isn't always puppies and rainbows. There is a lot that goes into taking care of an animal while being a full-time student. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

My roommates and I did not expect to ever adopt a dog, but Sadie, my older brother’s dog, fell into our laps in October. Having a dog in the house leads to good times and less good times, but not every housing situation allows for it.

If you are renting an apartment or a house that allows pets, here are some tips to consider before adopting a dog in college.

Put a lot of thought into it

Before the first visit to the shelter, there are some things that you need to consider. How much time do you and your roommates spend away from home? Where do you live, in a house or an apartment? Can you afford to care for a dog? The factors to consider are numerous.

If you don’t spend enough time at home, your dog will get lonely, sad and bored. Bored dogs tend to get into trouble. If you’re renting your living space, you certainly don’t want to get your carpet soiled.

Additionally, your neighbors will not appreciate the yipping and yapping heard through thin apartment walls, plus dog food and visits to the vet are costly.

Make sure to address and consider each of these questions. If you don’t, you run the risk of having to return your dog to the shelter. No animal deserves to get a taste of the good life at home only to have it ripped away and face the shelter again.

Start off by fostering

Fostering animals is a good way to test the waters before adopting a pet. It’s a win-win-win situation. There’s no long-term or financial commitment, the shelter can take in more dogs and the dogs spend less time in shelters.

Protect your carpet

Dogs have accidents, and dogs get sick. It is inevitable that you will come home from class or wake up from a nap to find a nice surprise right in the middle of your living room floor.

If there are rooms in your house that are carpeted, invest in area rugs to prevent stains from ruining your carpet. Your landlord will appreciate it.

Cut corners where you can

Like I already said, dogs cost a pretty penny. Between vet appointments, grooming tools, toys and food, the expenses rack up pretty quickly.

Lessen the burden by cutting corners where it is appropriate. Make your own dog toys out of old T-shirts and pairs of jeans. Gift your dog with a stick, as long as you keep an eye on them.

You also don’t have to spend money on treats for your dog. A good snack for humans and canines alike is a juicy carrot. Carrots are low in calories, cheap and good for your dog’s dental health. Make sure not to feed them too many carrots, as vitamin A can build up in their system and become toxic.

Be available

Make sure you have the time, discipline and emotional capacity to care for your dog. Dogs need to be exercised. They crave companionship, and they need guidance. Dogs look to us to help with those things.

Dogs are not toys, possessions or collectible items — they are living creatures with wants and needs. Give your dog the love and attention it deserves in a home that allows for it.

Rachel Hogan is the news editor for the Collegian and a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.