By Jake Maness

A dog costs its owner at least $326 on average each year after their first year of adoption, according to Pet Finder, an animal adoption agency.

This number accumulates from needs such as vaccines, food, vet visits and toys. College students who choose to take responsibility for an animal add these to their already existing expenses.

An important cost that also comes with pet ownership is where a student lives and whether or not there is a pet fee.

Amber Wilson, an accountant for The Standard Athens, said her apartment complex charges an upfront pet fee of $350 and then $25 dollars a month. She said the pet fee can be significant for some when it’s added on top of their rent.

In total this example adds up to $650 just for the cost of living. This along with the average basic cost can get to above $900 yearly and this is without the consideration of possible accidents or unplanned expenses.

“I have seen students have to take their dogs back home when they could no longer pay,” she said.

While this may be too high of a price for some, Shadman Arif, a senior at the University of Georgia, said the added costs may be worth it for those who want the companionship they gain from their pets.

“I’d say it depends on your situation financially, but if you think you can swing it, you probably can, and it’s worth the joy that they will bring you,” said Arif.

Arif adopted a cat his junior year and takes care of it financially on his own. A point he made was that while his cat may be somewhat costly, he is able to overlook the expenses as he feels he gained much more emotionally and mentally over the past year.

For students who struggle in their college career or have hardships mentally, a pet can be a great source of companionship and may even help students adapt and persevere according to the article, ‘Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet in College or University’ published by Accredited Schools Online.

On the other hand, the article said pets could be surprisingly expensive and require an abundance of time from their owners. Students should look at whether they can manage these situations before committing to an animal.

An article published by My Money Purdue titled ‘The Cost of Having a Pet in College’ said, “No matter what type of pet you choose, taking care of that pet will require a lot of time and patience.”

However, as Arif said, for some it is worth it to have these animals as they provide joy during the stressful time that college can bring.

Jake Maness  is a journalism student at the University of Georgia.