12 Low Maintenance Pets For College Students

Looking for an animal companion to snuggle up with in college? Here are 12 perfect pets for college students.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Learn more: Affiliate Disclaimer.

pets for college students
Source: Pinterest

The transition from high school to college involves plenty of psychological, physical, and emotional adjustments.

With all of these changes, it’s easy to see why a college student may want an animal companion to help ease that transition. Pets have been proven to help mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

However, pets are a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. They require lots of time, space, and money – all of which most college students are lacking.

Luckily, some pets are more low-maintenance than others.

If you’re wondering which pets are good for college students, we have you covered! Here are 12 good pets for college students.

Should College Students Have Pets?

Surveys dating as far back as 2008 show that college students with pets were better at navigating stressful situations, felt less lonely and depressed, and were more likely to be active.

However, pets are a LOT of work! College students should only have pets if they are able to meet their needs physically, financially, and emotionally.

Before you get any kind of pet, make sure you do extensive research on that animal’s care needs.

College kids also need to be aware of their living situations throughout college, as some dorms and apartments don’t allow pets.

Can You Have Pets In Dorm Rooms?

Depending on your college, you may be able to have pets in your dorm room. However, in most cases it’s best to wait to get a pet until you have your own apartment.

If you’re set on getting a pet while living in the dorm room, most colleges allow students to have fish as dorm pets.

Some allow small caged pets like reptiles or hamsters. The majority of college campuses do not allow cats or dogs, unless they are service animals.

The Best Pets For College Students

1. Goldfish

Goldfish are definitely one of the easiest and cheapest pets to have in college.

You don’t need to walk them, they don’t make any noise, and you can get them for under a dollar at your local pet store.

Here’s what you’ll need in order to have a pet goldfish in college:

  • A fish tank
  • Gravel and other aquatic decor
  • Somewhere safe to place your fish tank
  • Fish food

This whole setup could cost under $50, depending on where you shop.

Just make sure you’re aware of how often to feed your goldfish, how to clean their tank, and how to prevent sickness. This article has a lot of great care instructions for goldfish.

2. Betta Fish

Betta fish pet

If you’re looking for low maintenance, it doesn’t get much better than Betta fish.

All you have to do is give them a home, feed them, and clean their tank every once in a while.

And as far as lifespan goes, these beautiful fish live 2 to 5 years in captivity, so you could have a friend all through college.

You’ll need a Betta Fish tank, an aquarium filter, aquarium gravel, Betta food, and a light. This starter kit from Amazon has almost everything you need – just add food and gravel.

2 Gallon Betta Fish Tank With Filter and Light
$45.82 ($45.82 / Count)
Buy Now
03/04/2024 08:08 pm GMT

Just make sure you never have multiple Betta Fish in the same tank. They’re known for being very aggressive.

3. Gerbil

As far as pet rodents, gerbils are the way to go!

They don’t bite as often as other rodents, like hamsters. And they’re more affordable than guinea pigs.

Supplies for a gerbil include a gerbil habitat, bedding, decor, a habitat liner, exercise wheel, and food and drink bowls.

Gerbils love to eat pelleted food, vegetables, and grains. Make sure you read up on how to care for gerbils before getting one!

4. Hermit Crab

hermit crab pet

Hermit crabs are one of the cheapest college pets you can have. You can usually get them for around $6 at the pet store.

Hermit crabs can live up to 30 years in the wild, but only live for a few months to a year in captivity.

They don’t need a ton of maintenance, so they’re the perfect pet for a college student!

5. Chinchilla

chinchilla for college students

Chinchillas definitely aren’t the most affordable option on the list – they cost around $200 at most pet stores.

But they’re a good investment if you want at long-term pet! The average lifespan of a Chinchilla is between 10 and 20 years.

In order to provide a good life for your Chinchilla, you’ll need a habitat that is tall enough for them to climb, hay, Chinchilla food, toys, water bowls, ramps, and shelves.

Climbing is huge for them! It’s their main source of exercise. Read up on more Chinchilla care instructions here.

If socialized, Chinchillas like to be cuddled and carried. So they’re a great pet if you’re looking for something to snuggle up with during exam season.

6. Gecko

Geckos are another affordable pet option for college students.

These reptiles live 10 to 20 years on average, so they’re the perfect pet to get if you want something that will live past your college years!

Geckos are also fairly low-maintenance compared to other pets. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Terrarium
  • Logs and other dry areas
  • Heat lamp
  • Braches for climbing
  • Live insects for feeding

If furry pets aren’t your thing (and you don’t mind feeding live insects to your pet), then a gecko might be perfect for you!

7. Hamster

Hamster pet for college students

Hamsters have a reputation for being a good starter pet. You’ll still have some responsibilities, but they aren’t nearly as much work as dogs or cats.

Depending on the species, hamsters usually live for around 2 years.

In order to care for a hamster, you’ll need a cage, bedding, an exercise wheel, hay, chew toys, and treats.

Hamster Habitat Starter Kit
Buy Now
03/04/2024 09:08 pm GMT

Like most rodent pets, you have to work to get them socialized. If you get them used to being pet and held early on, they’ll be well-socialized when your college friends try to pet them.

8. Turtle

Turtles may not be soft and furry, but they are adorable pets for college students.

However, it’s important to know that turtles are lifelong commitments! According to the Petco care sheet, pet turtles can live over 40 years.

To get your turtle set up in your dorm or apartment, you’ll need a habitat, heat source, reptile substrate, plants, UVB lighting, and a water filter.

Here’s a good starter kit for small turtles:

Turtle Tank Starter Kit, Small
$35.99 ($35.99 / Count)
Buy Now
03/04/2024 08:38 pm GMT

Turtles thrive on pellets and leafy vegetables, so keep those on hand if you want to have a turtle as a pet in college.

9. Cat

kitten for college students

Although you probably can’t have one in the dorms, cats make great pets for when you’ve moved into a college apartment.

They’re independent and nap a lot, which makes them a much lower-maintenance option than a dog.

Cats require minimal grooming, and your main responsibility will be cleaning the litter box, feeding them, and setting out water.

As far as supplies goes, you’ll need a litter box, litter, toys, food and water bowls, and a bed. You may also need a scratching post.

5pcs Cat And Kitten Starter Kit
Buy Now
03/05/2024 01:17 am GMT

10. Rabbit

Bunny pet for college

Rabbits are another super cute option for a college pet. They’re easy to litter train, quiet, and generally bond well with their humans.

However, bunnies do take up a good amount of space with their large cages.

Depending on the size of your apartment, they may not be the best option for a college pet. But if you have the space for it, here’s what they’ll need:

  • Large cage
  • Litter box
  • Toys
  • Hay
  • Food pellets

Rabbits should also be let out daily for exercise. If you don’t want your rabbit to roam your apartment freely, you could get a playpen for them to exercise in.

If you take good care of your pet bunny, their lifespan can range from five to 15 years.

Here’s a good guide from the Animal Humane Society on how to care for a pet rabbit.

11. Birds

Birds can make great pets for college students, as long as you don’t mind the chirping.

They don’t take up much space, they’re super smart, and a lot of them can be socialized to enjoy petting and being held.

Parakeets and Cockatiels are two popular birds to keep as pets. But no matter what kind of bird you get, here are some of the basic items you’ll need:

  • Bird cage
  • Food
  • Cage liners (or old newspaper)
  • Food and water dishes
  • Perches
  • Toys
  • Cuttlebones

12. Small Breed Dog

small dog pet

Dogs are one of the best companion pets you can get. But they require time and money – two things college students don’t have a lot of.

If you’re getting a dog in college, make sure you have plenty of time to dedicate to exercising, training, and socializing them.

You’ll also need to consider expenses like food, grooming, vet bills, and potentially pet sitters.

Dogs can live for 10 to 18 years, so make sure you’re ready for the long-term commitment.

We recommend getting a small breed dog if you’re going to get a dog in college. They require less exercise than bigger dogs and they’re more affordable to feed because they don’t eat as much.

In order to care for a dog, you’ll need (at the very minimum) a dog bed, food and water dishes, collar and leash, training pads for puppies, toys, grooming supplies, food and treats.

Here’s a good puppy starter kit for new dog owners:

Puppy Starter Kit, 24pcs
Buy Now
03/05/2024 01:17 am GMT

Pets can be great companions during a stressful school year, but they’re a lot of work! Now that you know what pets are good for college students, hopefully you can find the perfect animal companion for your college years!

Looking for more college tips? You may also like:

Similar Posts