Pet-Friendly Colleges

Want to Bring Your Cat or Dog to College? Check Out These Colleges

Student with dog reading book on college campus
Hill Street Studios/Tobin Rogers / Getty Images

Don’t want to leave Fluffy behind when you leave for college? You might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to. A growing number of colleges have begun offering pet-friendly residence options. According to a recent Kaplan survey of college admissions officers, 38% of schools now have housing where some pets are permitted; 28% allow reptiles, 10% allow dogs, and 8% allow cats. While bringing along your pet tiger still may not be an option, most colleges have at least some allowances for aquatic pets such as fish, and many offer accommodations for small caged animals such as rodents and birds. Some colleges and universities even have pet-friendly special interest housing allowing cats and dogs. These ten colleges all have very pet-friendly policies so that you may not have to leave your furry companion at home in the fall. (And even if you don’t see your college on the list, be sure to check with the office of residence life—even if they don’t advertise it, there are a number of colleges that allow small caged or aquatic pets in residence halls.)

of 11

Stephens College - Columbia, Missouri

Stephens College
Stephens College. Photo courtesy of Stephens College

Stephens College, one of the top women’s colleges in the country, will accommodate almost any domestic pet in Searcy Hall or “Pet Central,” their designated pet dorm. This includes cats and dogs, with the exception of certain breeds such as pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf breeds. Stephens also has an on-campus doggie daycare and a program for students to foster pets through a local no-kill animal rescue organization, Columbia Second Chance. Space for pets is limited, however, so students must apply to live in the pet dorm.

of 11

Eckerd College - St. Petersburg, Florida

Franklin Templeton Building at Eckerd College
Franklin Templeton Building at Eckerd College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Eckerd College has one of the oldest pets-in-residence programs in the country. They permit cats, dogs under 40 pounds, rabbits, ducks and ferrets to live with students in one of the five pet houses, and smaller domestic animals are allowed in all of their dorms. Cats and dogs must be at least one year old and have been living with the student’s family for at least 10 months, and aggressive dog breeds such as Rottweilers and pit bulls are not allowed. All pets on campus must also be registered with Eckerd’s Pet Council.​

of 11

Principia College - Elsah, Illinois

Principia College Chapel
Principia College Chapel. stannate / Flickr

Principia College allows students to keep dogs, cats, rabbits, caged animals and aquatic pets in several of their housing units on campus, even permitting larger dogs (over 50 pounds) in some of their apartment complexes and off-campus rental units. Pet owners are required to register their pet with the college within a week of bringing it to campus. Students assume the responsibility for any damages inflicted by their pets, and pets are not allowed in any on-campus buildings except for the owner’s residence.​

of 11

Washington & Jefferson College - Washington, Pennsylvania

Washington and Jefferson College
Washington and Jefferson College. Mgardzina / Wikimedia Commons

Students at Washington & Jefferson College are allowed to keep non-carnivorous fish in all residence halls, and the college also has a designated Pet House, Monroe Hall, where students may have cats, dogs under 40 pounds (except for aggressive breeds such as pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf breeds, which are not allowed on campus at any time), small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, turtles, fish and other animals to be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Residence Life. Pet House residents may keep one dog or cat or two small animals, and students who have lived in the Pet House for at least a year can also apply to live with their pet in a double-as-a-single room.​

of 11

Stetson University - DeLand, Florida

Stetson University
Stetson University. kellyv / Flickr

Stetson University features a Pet-Friendly Housing option as part of their special interest housing, designating pet-friendly areas in several residence units that allow fish, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, mice, cats, and dogs under 50 pounds. The goal of their program is to create a “home away from home” feeling for students and promote student accountability and responsibility. Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Chows, Akitas and wolf breeds are not allowed on campus. Stetson’s pet-friendly housing won the Halifax Humane Society’s 2011 Wingate Award for furthering the humane society’s mission of encouraging responsible pet ownership. ​

of 11

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Champaign, Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. iLoveButter / Flickr

Students living in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Ashton Woods apartment complex are permitted to have a fish tank of up to 50 gallons as wells as up to two common household pets or companion animals weighing less than 50 pounds. Dobermans, Rottweilers and pit bulls are prohibited, and no pets are allowed to be outside the apartment unattended or off-leash.​

of 11

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) - Pasadena, California

Roses at the California Institute of Technology
Caltech Roses. tobo / Flickr

Residents of all Caltech housing are allowed to keep small caged or aquatic pets in an aquarium or cage of 20 gallons or smaller, and seven of Caltech’s undergraduate residence halls also allow cats. Residents of these dorms may keep up to two indoor house cats. The cats must wear an ID tag provided by the Caltech Housing Office, and students whose cats become a nuisance or create repeated disturbances will be asked to remove them.​

of 11

State University of New York at Canton - Canton, New York

SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton. Greg kie / Wikipedia

SUNY Canton offers a designated Pet Wing for pet owners and students who enjoy sharing a living space with animals. Residents of this wing are permitted to keep one cat or a small caged pet, which must be approved by the Residence Hall Director. Pets are allowed to roam the wing freely. SUNY Canton’s Pet Wing Community tries to promote a family-like atmosphere among its residents. Dogs, birds, spiders and snakes are not permitted in the Pet Wing.​

of 11

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Cambridge, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Justin Jensen / Flickr

MIT allows students to keep cats in designated cat-friendly areas of four of their residence halls. Each cat-friendly dorm has a Pet Chair who approves and keeps track of any cats in the dorm. The cat’s owner must have the consent of his or her roommates or suitemates, and floormates can request to have a cat removed due to health issues.​

of 11

University of Idaho - Moscow, Idaho

University of Idaho
University of Idaho. Allen Dale Thompson / Flickr

The University of Idaho, the oldest school in the Idaho public university system, permits cats and birds in its four apartment-style residence buildings. No more than two cats or birds are allowed in one apartment. Pets should not display any aggressive behavior, and they must be registered and approved by the university’s office of residence life. Fish are also allowed in all university housing.​

of 11

A Final Word About Pets on Campus

The great majority of colleges and universities do not allow dogs or cats in the residence halls or academic buildings. That said, many schools have policies in place that do allow service animals and emotional support animals, so you're likely to encounter a dog or two on campus even if the school has a no-dog policy.

At many schools, students also have the option of living off campus for some if not all years of college. College rules obviously don't apply when living off campus, but keep in mind that local landlords are likely to have their own pet policies.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Cody, Eileen. "Pet-Friendly Colleges." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Cody, Eileen. (2020, August 27). Pet-Friendly Colleges. Retrieved from Cody, Eileen. "Pet-Friendly Colleges." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).