The grand adventure that is college is calling. For the first time, you will be away from your family, friends and home for long periods. It could also be your first separation from a beloved long time pet and companion. Let us face it; going to college can be a stressful ordeal. It is not the best time to be so far away from your support system.
Add the rigors of crazy education schedules to homesickness, and you have the perfect recipe for an emotional breakdown.
A study by the American College Health Association shows that students experience high levels of loneliness, stress, depression, and anxiety.
Fortunately, as per the AAAS, pets can increase the levels of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is the hormone that regulates blood pressure.
Spending time in your pet’s company can increase your oxytocin levels by 300%, lowering high blood pressure. There are fantastic pets out there that are perfect for a dorm room setting.
They are low maintenance and small. Most pets on our list do not mind some alone time when you are too busy with school work. They include;
Fish are the A+ pets for college students. They are perfect for dorm rooms since they are colorful and can be elegant. Fish are such chill roommates that besides the gentle hum of their aquarium’s filter, you will never hear a squeak, whimper, hiss, or whistle from them.
They can create an excellent environment for students who need to study for hours on end and do not wish to deal with loud scratches or barks.
See our Pick of the best fish tanks for college dorms here over on Amazon ( link )
The other advantage of fish as college pets is that they will not eat your paper or sit on your laptop when you’re trying to get through a tiring all-nighter.
You will not need to clean up their stinky litter, and despite the clamor out there, they are easy to maintain. Think about it, no bathroom breaks, multiple feedings in a day, or flea treatment needed.
Tank maintenance is the only challenging maintenance activity that you will need to oversee with fish. The good thing is most college dorms only allow small fish tanks in, and these are easier to clean.
The best thing about having fish in your college dorm room is that they will be A-okay should you go away for a much needed quick trip over the weekend.
You can have an impromptu trip to go to a party and not have to worry about your pet. So if your college dynamic involves unplanned for, three-day weekends, go for fish.
Clean your pet’s tank, slowly feed its food into the tank and have your roommate occasionally check on them. One other significant benefit of fish is that their tanks are scientifically proven to cut down on high blood pressure, heart rate, and stress.
Fish tanks have many therapeutic effects, a reason people are generally drawn to aquariums, spending their time gazing at the beautiful flora and fauna.
Decorating your pet’s tank will be fun. Your choice of gravel, ornaments, and plants can enhance your décor.
Best of all is that fish have amazing personalities. They are naturally beautiful and have unique quirks that make them so much fun to observe.
Some of the best pet fish for campus rooms include Guppies, Tetras, Betta fish, and Goldfish.
Finches, quail, parrots, canaries, and budgies can make excellent pet companions for college. That said, birds are not your A+ college pet.
Give them a C because you will need to invest tons of energy, time, and money to keep your pet bird happy and healthy. We are talking regular visits to the vets, which will eat up your allowance.
Most birds are interactive and exciting, but that does not mean that your roommate will love them. For that reason, some college dorms do not accept birds as pets.
Some have conditions that allow you to keep your bird, only if your roommate is okay with it. Should your neighbors complain about your parrot’s loud whistles or your budgies’ sweet songs, they might ask your bird to vacate the premises.
That aside, birds are intelligent, and with training, they can mimic skills and solve some problems. A bird will quickly warm-up to you, as long as you can spend ample quality time with them.
Unlike dogs or cats, birds need little living space, since they are not prone to roaming. In comparison, they are also easy to maintain.
Some species, such as finches and canaries, are relatively self-contained. Enrich their cages, and they will spend their time fluttering and singing to entertain you.
Cockatiels, on the other hand, will learn how to play games, sit on your shoulder or finger, and to mimic words. However, they are loud when untrained.
Like fish, aquatic turtles are an A+ pet for college. They are small, and their small or medium-sized turtle aquariums can fit in any small living space.
Turtles are fun to look at as they swim in their tanks. They are low maintenance pets. Feed them a few times a week, and they will be alright.
You will not need to walk your turtle, not clean out their litter or poo every other day. All that you need to do is to keep their environment and water clean.
Consequently, you will require a robust filtration system. You will also need to change the tank’s water regularly to keep your pet happy and healthy. Clean water will keep the tank free of infections.
Turtles also need optimum water temperatures that mimic that of their environment in the wild. Expose them to the sun for shell and bone development.
Provide them with a healthy diet of tiny insects or fish, and leafy greens. Turtle food pellets or canned food might be an easier option for college pet owners.
You should feed your turtles five times a week and ensure that you add calcium dust to their food twice annually to prevent calcium deficiencies. The beauty of keeping a pet turtle for college is that they are hardy, fearless, and love to be petted.
They are also interactive, depending on their species. The best beginner turtle species include mud turtles and the western painted turtle. The red-eared slider and the common musk turtle are exceptional bets as well.
The red-eared slider is friendly, active, and easy to come by. Your turtle friend has over 30 year’s long lifespan, so prepare yourself for lifelong companionship.
Like fish and turtles, hermit crabs are easy to maintain college pets. They are more active than fish, inquisitive, and sociable. They can live for up to 10 to 15 years with good care.
A hermit crab is the size of a golf or tennis ball, and you will need an aquarium or terrarium for it. Monitor its humidity and temperature, so have a hygrometer and thermometer at hand.
Since they are small and prone to loneliness, keep a few hermit crabs together but avoid overcrowding them. Keeping hermit crabs for pets is a fun activity.
They have complex foraging, molting, and shell changing behavior that will keep your eyes glued on their aquarium.
They are not fussy eaters and can keep busy as long as they have other companions.
Clean their tanks once a week and change their substrate at least thrice a year. The downside is that this antibacterial substrate could be expensive.
Gerbils are ideal college pets because they are so small that their cages can fit perfectly on a shelf. The pet gerbil is peaceable and low maintenance, keeping themselves happy and preoccupied for days at a time.
Unlike larger rodents, gerbils are clean, odorless, and perfect for a shared room.
They also love to cuddle on the neck or chest. Gerbils need the right enclosures.
Wide mesh cages will not do and could expose them to life-threatening injuries should they breakthrough because of their small sizes.
A Human-Animal Bond Research Institute survey states that over 62% of millennials enjoy better mental health thanks to their pets. Hamsters are primarily responsible for this wellness statistic.
These chubby rodents are the most popular pet species in North America. You will find them in every 887 of 1000 households.
Hamsters are perfect for college. They are cheap, easy to maintain, and bond well with their owners. Give them enough toys and space, and they will be happy for long periods.
They are more independent than other pet rodents, a perfect attribute for a busy college student.
The tarantula is the perfect per for the less squeamish of us. They need little maintenance and can spend their lives in small containers. Just give them some live bugs or crickets, and they are good to go. These insects are not only hardy but also quiet companions.
A college is a pet-friendly environment. It makes sense to have a new pet around your college room for stress relief and companionship. Not all pets fit the college environment.
First, there are housing limits to consider if you are going to live on campus. Off-campus living is much more flexible, but there are also pet policies and other costs to deal with when choosing pet companions.
These seven pet species above are perfect for most college living settings. Choose one and enjoy the many health benefits of taking a pet to college.