The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Vet student offers advice for pet owners

    With college being the first away from home experience for many students at Mississippi State University, loneliness sets in from time to time. The solution for many students is a pet companion. The MSU School of Veterinary Medicine reports seeing many different kinds of students’ pets.
    “We have seen dogs, cats, ferrets, snakes, hedgehogs, fish, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles and hamsters,” junior student in veterinary medicine Kevin Anderson said.
    The problem most MSU students encounter is location. Most students living off-campus are in small apartments, and students living in the dorms have an extremely limited amount of pet choices, or no choice at all. Fish are about the only pets available to students living in dorms.
    “Once I saved my fish from a tragic death, so we now have a very special bond,” freshman Savannah Towe said about the two black Mollies she keeps in her dorm room.
    Small spaces pose problems for some larger pets. Border Collies, Labs, Golden Retrievers and other large dogs are not bred for small spaces like apartments. Cats and small dogs, such as Poodles, Pekingese, Pugs and Spaniels are much better suited for small spaces, Anderson said.
    “With my dog Dixie, there is always constant excitement. It’s very entertaining to have her around,” senior accounting major Carl Curbo said.
    There are many tips students should keep in mind with a pet in a small space: “Let them out regularly, play with them and just pay attention to the guys,” Anderson said.
    Many pets are destructive because they have nothing else to do, so make sure your dogs have plenty of activities. Also, when medical problems in the animals arise, such as separation anxiety, seek medical attention. There are behavior modification treatments for these animal diseases that help pets.
    “The most common mistake of student pet owners is not dog-proofing the house,” Anderson said. “Do not leave things out if you do not want the dog to eat it.”
    Not all hazards are evident. Items such as stuffed animals with plastic eyes and noses can also prove to be harmful to animals.
    Overfeeding also reigns as a common mistake students make with pets.
    “Table scraps are not meant for pets; obesity causes back and bone problems and pancreatitis,” Anderson said.
    Chocolate is also very hazardous to pets. Around Valentine’s Day, the College of Veterinary Medicine sees more incidents of sick pets due to ingestion of Valentine’s Day chocolates.
    The most common pets for MSU students are, of course, dogs and cats, but, across the nation, pet cats outnumber dogs.
    “Even though my cat, Bella, is a little schizophrenic, she keeps my roommate, Victoria Whitten, and I entertained while we attempt to study,” junior Morgan Chandler said.
    Pets can be very important to their owners; however, there is a great deal of responsibility that comes along with the love and cuddling a pet brings.

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    Vet student offers advice for pet owners