You asked: How do I know when I'm ready for a pet?

Image shows a dog in a bicycle basket, facing the viewer

Only you know if you’re ready to take on the life and care of another creature, but we recommend a combination of self reflection and research before making any decisions. Regardless of how much you may fall in love with that little face, think it through. 

Here are three questions to guide you:

  1. How much time can you spare for the care of a pet? It’s reasonable to think that your amount of free time could change over the next few years, so consider pets whose needs fit well within your time budget.

  2. How much money can you spare for the care of a pet? Go beyond the initial purchase/adoption cost, beyond the basics of food and supplies, and into the realm of dang-it-my-dog-just-swallowed-a-sock vet trips. All animals can have unexpected expenses pop up, some more than others, so a rainy day fund is necessary.

  3. Where will your life take you over the lifespan of this pet? Think of getting a pet as getting a new family member who will always live with you. If you are considering a dog or cat, think about how long that animal will live (which is definitely in the 10–20 years range), and whether the goals you have for your life in that time period match up well with the commitment of a pet. Are you planning on traveling extensively after graduation, or are you going into an intense field that will eat up your time?

If you’re ready, awesome! We wish you and your future pal lots of fun and companionship. If it doesn’t seem like adopting a pet is the right decision for your immediate future, consider volunteering your time at an animal shelter or fostering animals up for adoption. Here are 11 that are worth checking out:

Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA

Arizona Humane Society

Arizona Small Dog Rescue

Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary

Halo Animal Rescue

Home Fur Good

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control


Sun Valley Animal Shelter

White Knight Dark Horse Rescue Ranch

Wild Horse Ranch Rescue


As a friendly reminder the residence halls have a no pets policy, with the exception of fish (10 gallon or less tanks) and approved service/emotional support animals. Other rules apply to family housing. Visit the housing policies page for more details.


Keep sending us questions and we'll keep posting answers or connect you with an expert that can provide the help you need.


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