Can You Bring Pets on A College Campus?

Can you take your dog to college with you? At some colleges the answer is “yes.” From on-campus Starbucks to state-of-the art exercise equipment, allowing students to bring their pets with them is simply one more way campus can set itself apart.

Pets Reduce Stress For College Students

It’s well known that pets provide comfort and stress reduction to their owners. You may even be aware they can do the same for passersby or anyone who’d like to take a moment to pet them.

In fact, in a survey of over 1000 doctors, an overwhelming 97% recommended pets for their health benefits. The doctors said pets improve people’s mental and emotional well-being as well as build relationships. With that as an endorsement, it’s no wonder that some colleges and universities are welcoming pets on campus.

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Colleges Have a Range of Pet Policies

From pet-friendly dorms to foster programs to visiting therapy dogs, pets are a familiar site on some campuses. However, the pet friendly policies vary widely.

According to College, the University of Washington ranks as the #1 pet friendly campus in the country. They have four buildings where students can choose to live and have pets. These are apartments deemed “family housing” rather than the typical dormitory.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cal Tech, only allow cats in their student housing and the cat owners must get approval from student government as well as their roommates.

At Reed College in Portland, Oregon, only caged animals (such as pet mice or the occasional iguana) and fish are allowed in the dormitories. However, dogs and cats can live in the on-campus apartments. In these areas, there are designated leash-free dog runs for an active pup to get his exercise.

Other schools allow what they deem as “emotional support animals.”  At Westchester University in Westchester, Pa. students have requested –and received – permission to bring animals as diverse as lizards to cats to live with them in the dorms as “emotional support” animals.

Other schools bring in therapy dogs on a daily basis or during times of high stress such as finals week.

NBC News reported that Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK offers an opportunity for Pete’s Pet Posse to bring therapy dogs to campus. Each day, a posse of around 20 pooches puts in an appearance at the stress reduction center and enjoys affection and attention from the students.

Kent State in Ohio brings in therapy dogs during finals week for stress reduction. They even call it “Dogs on Campus.”

Pet policies vary widely from school to school. So if bringing a pet ranks at the top of your school “must haves,” you’ll want to check with student housing to find out the requirements at your potential school(s).

Before Bringing Your Pet On Campus, Check Your School’s Requirements

General guidelines for schools who accept dogs and cats include friendly, well-socialized animals who are spayed/neutered and up to date on their vaccines. You’ll likely need to register your pet with student housing and/or your Resident assistant on your hall and you may need written permission from roommates.

As with any group living environment, responsibility and courtesy are expected when it comes to your pets.




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