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Can I Bring My Dog with Me to College?


Starting college can be exciting and scary at the same time. On the one hand, you can’t wait to see what the future holds. On the other hand, you’re nervous about being far away from your family. That includes your dog, who has always been by your side through the years. Just the thought of leaving them behind makes you sad. Is it possible to bring your best bud with you to college?

college campus - Can I Bring My Dog with Me to College

Pet-friendly colleges in the US

Though the majority of colleges and universities in the country are not pet-friendly, there are a few dozen that do allow dogs and cats who are not service or emotional support animals on campus. If you’re planning to attend college with Fido, here are some schools that will let your canine BFF tag along.

  • Eckerd College. Often recognized as the most pet-friendly college in the US, this liberal arts institute in St. Petersburg, FL has welcomed furry, feathered, and scaly critters onto its campus since 1973. Eckerd not only offers 16 pet-friendly residence halls and an off-leash dog park, but also holds a pet blessing every October, and a graduation ceremony for outgoing companion animals every spring.
  • Lees-McRae College. One of the top colleges in the Southeast is also one of the most pet-friendly. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge in Banner Elk, NC, Lees-McRae lets you dorm with your four-legged pal in designated residence halls. You can even go to some classes with your pooch in tow. The college also encourages faculty and staff members to bring their furry friends to work.  
  • Lyon College. The only pet-friendly college in Arkansas, Lyon College in Batesville opened its doors to canines and felines in late 2018. It has one pet-friendly residence hall which can accommodate up to 20 students and their companion animals, and a bark park where your mutt can get some off-leash exercise. Visiting pets are welcome to explore the campus as well. 
If you’re already set on a college that’s not pet-friendly, see if you can find off-campus housing nearby that allows four-legged residents.

Other pooch-friendly colleges include Clarion University in Clarion, PA; Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, NC; Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI; Stetson University in DeLand, FL; and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD (visits only).

girl with small dog looking at laptop

Common pet policies

Pet policies vary by school, but there are a few common rules that are found in most, if not all pup-friendly colleges. Generally, to live on a college campus, dogs must:

  • Be at least 6 months to 1 year old.
  • Weigh no more than 40 to 50 pounds when fully grown.
  • Have lived with the student’s family for at least 6 months to 1 year.
  • Be spayed or neutered.
  • Be up to date with their vaccinations.
  • Be registered with the housing office. Registration fees apply.
Some colleges also do not accept certain breeds, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Rottweiler, and Presa Canario.

girl studying in dorm room with dog

Tips for living with dogs on campus

A college campus can be a confusing place! Be sure your dog can always get back to you, no matter what happens, by keeping your dog's ID tag up-to-date, and consider microchipping them. 

With your canine pal living on campus with you, balancing student and pup parent responsibilities can prove challenging at times. If you’re unable to provide your dog with the care and attention they need, book a dog walker or sitter to keep them busy while you’re finishing a project or preparing for an exam.

Got a roommate? Be sure to be open and understanding of your roommate's space and time, and keep your dog behaved and out of their things. Start a conversation and discuss any rules with your roommate right away to help avoid any issues that may arise. 

And always watch your dog for signs of stress or anxiety. Living in cramped quarters with a lot of noise and activity everywhere they go can be scary for some dogs. If your dog is not suited to college life, be prepared to make some changes to do what's best to keep your canine pal safe and happy. 

Download the Wag! App for help with all your dog's needs wherever you are!

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