Some students could be barking up the wrong tree when it comes to pet owning off campus and the expenses.
Being a pet owner is a big responsibility that can potentially burn a hole in a student’s pocket if gone about the wrong way.
To start, a student must find a place to live that accepts animals.
Laurie Laurain, the rental manager for Newlove Rentals in Bowling Green, said they allow cats in most of their apartment and house rentals, but don’t allow dogs in apartments.
The cost is a $300 non-refundable fee per pet. The fee is specific to cats and dogs only and Newlove doesn’t require a fee for fish, rats, hamsters or small animals kept in cages.
“The fee is just for having the pet,” Laurain said. “Anything that is in a cage doesn’t require a fee,” Laurain said.
Some rental offices are more lenient about having pets kept in cages while other places have a list of accepted pets. Copper Beech employee Blake O’Neil said select units of the complex accept animals in the apartment if the past residents had pets.
“We keep select units as pet friendly,” O’Neil said.
The fee for Copper Beech residents with animals is a non-refundable $300 fee as well as $25 per month. The complex also allows fish and hamsters, but does not allow some breeds of dogs they have labeled as “aggressive breeds” such as Pitbull, Rottweiler, German Sheppard and Chow. Copper Beech also has a list of more exotic animals that could scare residents or cause problems if let loose that aren’t allowed either.
“No snakes, reptiles or spiders,” O’Neil said.
Another pocket emptier to take into account for potential pet owners are various medical needs. West Ridge Animal Hospital employee Janet Duty said owning a pet is a luxury for college students because of the costs. Those looking for a pet must remember to get the proper vaccinations and procedures done so the pet is healthy and doesn’t contract common diseases such as Distemper, Parvo, Kennel Cough and Coronavirus.
“Rabies [shot] is a must for cats and dogs,” Duty said. “You want all these pets to be protected against these things.”
Jade McCray is a cat owner as well as a Petco employee and said food can become expensive depending on how big a dog is. McCray said she pays around $33 for a 10 lb. bag of cat food that lasts her around three months.
“Natural food is around $50 for a 40 lb. bag for dogs,” McCray said. “Forty pounds of dog food will last a month, if that, depending on how big the dog is.”
Treats for cats and dogs can cost anywhere from .99 cents to $20 and should be given every day to puppies for training. McCray said toys are also a need for animals, especially puppies. Toys for dogs cost around $8.99 while only $4.99 for cats. As for smaller animals, the start-up cost for hamsters or fish can run upwards to about $100. Petco sells a lot of fish to college students, especially beta and goldfish, McCray said. Her advice to those who want a pet is to do the research before going shopping.
“People don’t realize how much work it is,” she said.
Sophomore Shelby Mertz said she had to be ready to pay around $1,000 when one of her cats got sick and had to get teeth pulled. She pays around $40 to $50 a month and a couple hours a day playing with her dog and two cats.
Matt Joeseph, a junior, also said it can be expensive having a pet but it can be worth it too.
“Living off campus with pets, unless you already have an animal that you love and care for, you’re better off without one,” Joeseph said.
Despite the expenses, time and management needed to have a pet, there are other options available for a few extra bucks. Poco’s Playhouse is a dog day care and boarding facility that provides customer’s with reasonable prices and a familiar staff of qualified employees.
Alexa Acosta, a former student of the University and Poco’s employee, said the facility has different play rooms as well as a big space outside for the dogs to play in including swimming pools and slides. For those who bring in their dog for a half day, which is four hours, the cost is $10 and $20 for a full day or up to eight hours. The facility also has hourly rates and package deals.
“We keep them very entertained,” Acosta said. “Unless you have a very hyper breed, four hours will knock your dog out.”
Acosta added the employees also help with basic training at the day care such as voice recognition and are willing to help customers outside the playhouse.
Boarding also includes day care where the dogs are let out a minimum of three times per day and two 20 minute play sessions with the staff.
“Their rooms are heated and air-conditioned in the summer — they have windows, there’s beds and blankets galore,” Acosta said. “They live better than we do.”
For more information on Poco’s Playhouse visit pocosplayhouse.com.