What Should a Student Do If Their Pet Gets Sick?

By Alberto Roy

Updated on:

Having a pet as a student is both a joy and a responsibility. Their unconditional love provides much-needed comfort during late-night study sessions, but their well-being is a priority. So, when your furry (or scaly) friend shows signs of illness, it can be particularly stressful, especially given a student’s tight schedule and budget. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these murky waters without panic.

Pros And Cons Of Getting A Pet As A Student

Having a pet as a student can offer numerous benefits. For one, pets provide companionship, alleviating feelings of loneliness or homesickness that many students experience.

Their consistent presence offers emotional support, helping to reduce stress and anxiety during intense study periods or exams. Additionally, the routine required in caring for certain pets can instill discipline and responsibility, teaching students valuable life skills outside the classroom.

These skills are useful for students and help them perform better at school. TopEssayWriting.org can also help with the latter. Just ask them, “Write my dissertation, essay or research paper”, and they will be on it.

However, there are also challenges to consider. Pets demand time, attention, and resources. Juggling academic responsibilities with pet care can be overwhelming, especially during busy periods like finals week.

The costs of food, regular vet check-ups, and unexpected medical expenses can strain a student’s limited budget. Additionally, student accommodations might have restrictions against pets, and fees might be added if allowed. Pets also require long-term commitment, posing issues when considering post-graduate moves, travels, or job placements.

What To Do If Your Pet Gets Sick

1. Don’t Ignore The Symptoms

The first and foremost step is never to overlook sudden changes in your pet’s behavior. Is your cat less active than usual? Does your dog refuse its favorite treats? Maybe your fish isn’t swimming as energetically? These could be indicators of underlying health issues. Just as you wouldn’t ignore your health, being vigilant about theirs is crucial.

2. Consult a Veterinarian

If you observe any unusual behaviors or symptoms, contact a veterinarian. Many vet clinics now offer teleconsultation services, which can be particularly useful for students who might not have easy transport options. Describe the symptoms as clearly as possible, and follow their advice. If they suggest bringing the pet in, do so promptly. 

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3. Stay Calm and Offer Comfort

While it’s natural to panic, remember that pets pick up on our emotions. Stay calm and ensure your pet is comfortable. Create a quiet environment, offer them their favorite toy, or stay beside them. Your presence can be incredibly soothing to them.

4. Update Their Living Conditions

Ensure that your pet’s living conditions are clean and conducive to recovery. This means cleaning out cages, refreshing the water in fish tanks, or ensuring that bedding is clean and dry. Sanitation can often prevent further complications.

5. Seek Financial Aid If Needed

Veterinary care can be expensive, and students often operate on a limited budget. If you’re faced with a large bill, inquire about payment plans. Additionally, there are charitable organizations and nonprofits that assist with veterinary bills. It’s worth doing a quick online search to find available resources.

6. Administer Medication As Prescribed

If your vet prescribes any medication, administer it as directed. Set reminders on your phone to ensure you don’t miss any doses. Don’t hesitate to clarify with your veterinarian if you’re unsure about any part of the medication routine. 

7. Monitor Progress and Keep Records

Keep a close eye on your pet’s behavior and note any changes. Maintaining a diary or log of their symptoms, food intake, and general behavior is a good idea. This record can be beneficial for follow-up visits to the vet or in understanding the progression of their condition.

8. Seek Support

Caring for a sick pet can be emotionally draining. Talk to friends, family, or fellow pet owners. Many universities also have student support services, which might include counseling. Remember, it’s essential to take care of your emotional well-being too. That said, don’t ignore your academic workload – find time for writing your dissertation or fulfilling other college duties.


When your companion animal receives a diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness, the experience can be incredibly overwhelming. Normal emotional responses include feelings of shock, disbelief, sadness, fear, anger, guilt, and helplessness upon realizing that your beloved friend is unwell.

Daily activities may become challenging as your mind is filled with numerous concerns. Many individuals in similar situations express difficulty thinking clearly and describe feeling as if they are in a fog. In the days and weeks ahead, you are likely to encounter stressful situations and be confronted with tough decisions.

Here are some strategies to consider when facing a diagnosis:

  1. Take notes during discussions about treatment options, and jot down any questions or concerns you may have. Given the emotional state, remembering everything can be challenging. Keeping a record of discussed topics and concerns will aid in maintaining clarity. Discuss these notes with your veterinarian.
  2. Bring a friend or family member to appointments to help you absorb the information. Emotional situations can cloud one’s perception of information.
  3. Inquire about the urgency of treatment decisions. If immediate decisions are not necessary, give yourself time to comprehend the situation and discuss options with supportive individuals.
  4. Reflect on how you’ve handled difficult decisions in the past. Seek support from those who have assisted you through challenging times.
  5. Conduct research on your own. Ask your veterinarian for reputable websites and resources to gain additional knowledge.
  6. Define your greatest hopes and concerns, both for your pet and yourself. Discuss these with your veterinarian.
  7. Consider the financial aspects of treatment and realistically evaluate how it will impact your life.
  8. Assess your pet’s quality of life. Reflect on how treatment options may influence your pet’s quality versus the quantity of life.
  9. Consider your own quality of life. Ask yourself questions such as:
    • How much time can I dedicate to caring for my pet?
    • What financial responsibilities will I incur?
    • What other obligations do I have in my life, such as work, parenting, and other pets?
    • Who can provide assistance?
  10. Take care of yourself. Ensure you eat healthy meals and get enough rest. Caring for an ill pet is emotionally and physically demanding, and self-care is crucial.

Remember, when deciding what is best for you, your family, and your pet, any decision you make will be the right one. There are no wrong treatment options.

In Conclusion

Balancing student life with pet ownership can be challenging, especially when your pet falls ill. But with prompt action, a calm demeanor, and the right resources, you can ensure your pet gets the best care possible. Remember, they aren’t just pets; they’re family.

Author: Torie Eslinger

Torie Eslinger masterfully merges her passion for writing with her profound knowledge of veterinary medicine. As an accomplished article writer, her pieces often illuminate the intricate world of animal care, bridging the gap between professionals and pet owners. Beyond the pen, Torie dedicates her expertise to ensuring the well-being of animals in her role as a veterinarian. Her unique blend of skills has made her a sought-after voice in pet care and animal health publications.

"Passionate dog trainer with years of experience. Transforming pups into well-behaved companions through positive reinforcement and love. 🐾🐶"