A Girl And Her Dog

Pet-Friendly Colleges in the US

One of the hardest things about moving for college is saying goodbye to your loved ones, which includes your pets. Although in many colleges keeping fish in dorm rooms is allowed, pets like dogs and cats are out of the question. Fortunately, there are colleges across the country that accept pets. So, although you cannot take all of your family members with you, you can at least take the furry ones. Read on to find out more about pet-friendly colleges.

General rules of living on campus with pets

Pet policies vary across US colleges. Therefore, you need to get familiar with specific restrictions before choosing a college and picking the best dorm for you.

  • Being a pet-friendly college does not mean all pets are allowed. Every college has species/breed restrictions. For example, certain dog breeds may not be allowed. Such breeds include large dogs (Chow, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, etc) as well as small ones (Chihuahua, Toy Poodle).
  • Disruptive and aggressive behavior is not permitted. The university has the right to remove pets who disrupt educational,  administrative, research, or other important operations.
  • Owning a pet is the greatest joy but also a huge responsibility. You will be responsible for any damage your pet causes. Hence, you will have to pay for it.
  • Service and emotional support animals are legally allowed in dorms. When it comes to assistance animals, you may be required to present proof from your doctor. The college staff can ask questions about your service animal, but they cannot ask you about your disability.
Two white-and-gray cats sleeping in a room at one of the pet-friendly colleges

Find a college that welcomes both you and your pets.

The best pet-friendly colleges in America

Here’s a list of pet-friendly colleges in the USA worth your attention.

Washington and Jefferson College

W&J’s pet-friendly Monroe Hall, a.k.a. the Pet House, houses up to 32 students with their pets. Dogs, cats, and many other species are welcome in the Pet House, while fish are welcome in all other residence halls. Let your dog run on the dorm’s large lawn and play with other dogs. This way, both you and your dog can make new friends after moving to college. When you graduate, your pet can walk the stage wearing a tiny cap and gown and receive their own diploma during commencement. How adorable is that?!

Eckerd College

Eight separate pet-friendly housing facilities house cats, dogs, and even ducks with their owners. In addition to these facilities, small animals in tanks or cages are permitted in all halls. You can apply to bring your pet to Eckerd after the first semester.

University of Idaho

This university allows its students to keep fish, birds or cats in some of its on-campus apartments. The University of Idaho does not believe in age restrictions on cats, which means you can also keep kittens in on-campus housing.

Lees-McRae College

This college has been pet-friendly since 2011. This policy was introduced in order to help students deal with homesickness and anxiety. In addition to fish, at Bentley Hall, you can live with hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, cats and dogs that weigh less than 40 pounds. Not only are students encouraged to bring their pets, but also the faculty and staff.

A yellow dog lying on the floor

Pet-friendly colleges make the transition from high school to college easier.

University of Illinois

As a resident of one of its apartment-style halls, you can keep up to two companion animals in your room. This includes typical household pets, but not exotic animals. You can also have a fish tank of up to 50 gallons.

California Institute of Technology

Caltech is not only one of the best colleges in California, but it’s also pet-friendly. In Ruddock, Lloyd, Page, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming and Ricketts Houses, college students can keep up to two cats or small pets in an aquarium or terrarium (up to 20 gallons). If you plan on keeping cats, they need to be sterilized, up-to-date on shots and they can’t leave certain areas. Caltech is proud of its Caltech Animal Team (CAT) – a group that takes care of homeless animals.

Delaware Valley University

In Delaware Valley University’s Samuel Hall, students can keep rabbits, cats, hamsters, snakes, geckos, and guinea pigs. The university’s faculty and staff worked together with students to create the pet policy and put it into effect. The policy has been so successful that the university is currently working on expanding the number of pet-friendly rooms.

Stetson University

Two residence halls welcome various animal species, including dogs under 30 pounds, cats, hamsters, and gerbils. Your dog or cat must be at least 12 months old and have lived with your family for at least a year before moving here. At Stetson University, you can foster and train future service dogs. Faculty and staff members can also bring well-behaved pets to work.

A girl attending one of America's pet-friendly colleges holding a dog

There is a dog park on Stetson University campus where you can play with your furry friend.

Stephens College

Stephens has been a pet-friendly college for over a decade. As a pet owner at Stephens College, you’ll have several options to choose from. Searcy and Tower Hall are completely pet-friendly. Pillsbury Hall has both pet-friendly and pet-free floors. Students who do not have pets can foster an animal from a local shelter.

State University of New York, Canton

Cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, and fish are all welcome in the Pet Wing. However, you can’t have dogs. The university tries to promote a family-like atmosphere by allowing cats to roam freely in the wing. Cat owners can take part in various organized activities, such as cat yoga.


Cats are allowed in 4 of MIT’s 12 dorm buildings. Unlike some other pet-friendly colleges, MIT allows cats in the hallways and other students’ rooms. Moreover, your pet does not have to be a certain age to move in with you. Also, living with your family prior to living on campus is not a requirement.