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Companion animals are allowed on college campuses. This means that many college students spend their days surrounded by cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, fish tanks, and pot plants. Pets are popular with students for several reasons. Some people are companions that help keep them company on long study sessions or when they have to move into the dorms for the first time. For others, they help maintain a healthy lifestyle and create a home-away-from-home environment during college years.


Pet Presentations

Pets often pose a challenge for some students. Some of the most common problems that arise between pets and students are noise complaints and animal aggression.


Nuisance Complaints

In many communities, pets are considered a nuisance or a problem. In some cases, pet owners have been taken to court for violations of local ordinances about pest control. Fines and community service have settled these cases.


Pet Aggression

In college housing, dogs or cats that have not been adequately socialized can become aggressive toward other people. In some cases, the veterinary intervention has been required to treat dog bites caused by this behavior. In addition, some companion animals can present a danger to other pets. Studies have indicated that some dogs are more aggressive in their interactions with other pets. These behaviors are genetically inherited.


Assessing Pet Aggression

Assessment of pet aggression can be difficult. When there is a potential for aggression, the best thing to do is to find another location for them to live until they are properly trained. A new student that has just moved into the dorm may have trouble with this, but this can be resolved with time and patience.


Emotional Support Animals

Students with allergies, asthma or other conditions that require them to be separated from their pet for treatment should be allowed to bring the pet on campus. However, this can be difficult to achieve due to policies regarding “emotional support animals.”

Emotional support animals are defined as any canine or feline companion animal which provides an individual with emotional support and comfort. These animals are present to provide an individual with therapeutic benefits to treat mental and emotional impairments. Emotional support animals are not pets and therefore may not be considered service animals under Title II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Health Information

It is important to be aware of the health risks of having pets on campus. These can include fleas, ticks, worms, flies, and often intestinal parasites. Another potential problem is an elevated temperature due to constant exposure to the outdoor environment. Other ailments that are often seen in pets on campus are respiratory diseases and gastrointestinal distress. In addition, many of these animals are not brought to campus with any form of controlled flea or tick management. Such diseases may be transmitted to people. This is especially true in places where students live close together.



As the number of pet owners increases, so does the number of companion animals living on college campuses. While it is true that many pets are perfect companions, they are not always welcome on campus.