Going to college can be a big move for students. Some have to leave their family and friends behind, so being able to bring their pet along can make a world of difference. Schools that accept four-legged friends with open arms are working to make their campus a home away from home. More than just a way to attract potential students, pet friendliness is a great way to make current students feel like both their wants and needs are being met.


Most pet friendly universities have great systems to approve pets by allowing students to apply to have theirs on campus after a semester or two of proven responsibility. Eckerd College is devoted to pet life on campus, dedicating multiple types of housing to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Some campuses take it to the next level. Previously named the number one college for dog lovers, Stephens College offers free dog treats and pet-themed parades. They even have a pet-foster program that allows students to learn everything to get them prepared to adopt from a local shelter partner.

Bringing your four-legged friend to campus can seem like a lot to take on, but some schools, like the University of Northern Colorado, have made the process as simple as possible. Students can download a pet friendly checklist that lays out all of the steps to moving in and bringing your pal along for the ride.

Even schools that don’t allow pets on campus or in on-campus housing have pups included in other ways. The University of Central Florida’s Counseling and Psychological Services has an entire website page dedicated to Bodhi, the animal assisted therapy dog, who can be seen at events on and off campus.


Campuses are starting to put more efforts towards focusing on culture. Many have initiatives that promote diversity and community, but a group of students is sometimes forgotten—pet owners.

College becomes a temporary home for students, which is why it’s important to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Schools that encourage canine companions are often recognized because it means that they are willing to do more than the average college.

Organizations and student-run clubs are among one of the many ways that universities try to give students independence and responsibility, but having their pet by their side can make the experience a lot more realistic. Coursework can be a lot to handle, but students often leave college unprepared for what they face in the real world. Taking care of a furry friend can help keep students on a schedule and give them a chance to balance the things that want to do and need to do.

Colleges often want their students to be involved in and out of the classroom, participate in charity work or be more active. The community at pet-inclusive campuses brings something different to the table. Schools with friendly pet policies are often known to have activities that encourage students to bond over their pets. It can be hard to get students out of bed when on the weekends, but man’s best friend will always be there to keep students moving on their off-days.


Making any school pet friendly can be simple with the right strategy. The first step is providing dog waste receptacles with dog waste bags around campus to encourage students to pick up after their pets.

If separating an entire dorm facility for pet friendly rooms isn’t practical, there can be a floor per building that hosts all of the furry friends and their owners. Alternatively, dorms with dogs could have printouts on the door with a picture of the pup and a notice saying, “Fido lives here!”

Many universities require students to participate in online modules that bring attention to certain issues that are prevalent on campus, such as hazing prevention. To make sure that pet owners are all on the same page, schools could create an online awareness course that informs them of all the pet friendly amenities and rules.

Living in a small dorm can be tough for a pup. Dogs need to be walked frequently and some breeds have a lot of excess energy that they need to release, which is why dog parks shouldn’t just be an off-campus treat. Decking out a doggie park can be easy and fun with products like arched stepping bones, dog shaped three hoop jumps, and the classic fire hydrant.

Even if a college has a strict no-paw policy, it must still accommodate students that have service or emotional support animals. Service animals are becoming more and more common on college campuses, so it shouldn’t be uncommon to have some pet products available for emergencies.

Whether it’s hosting the occasional pup friendly event on campus or building a state-of-the-art dog park, a kind gesture towards furry friends can make college feel a lot less ruff.

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