Most Pet-friendly Universities In The UK and US

Leaving behind a pet when you start university can be traumatic, especially if they’re the dog you wobbled against when learning to walk, or the pet rabbit you snuggled every night after school.

We did some research and discovered the most pet-friendly universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Some of these universities allow you to bring your own pet to live with you. Nearly all of them run pet therapy sessions, where you can cuddle silky cats, dogs, puppies and more, to relieve your exam stress.

From adorable, lolloping labradors, to mysterious college cats, let’s look at the most pet-friendly universities of the UK and US, and the animals they are home to.

Most pet-friendly universities in the UK and US

According to our thorough research, the most pet friendly universities of the UK and US are:

University of Illinois

With its own pet-friendly living complex, The University of Illinois is definitely one of our most pet-friendly universities. The pet-friendly complex, Ashton Woods1 has plenty of outdoor space, where students can frolic with their dogs and cuddle their cats on the lawn areas.

As a student living at Ashton Woods, you’re allowed up to two pets in each apartment, as well as a fish tank of no more than 50 gallons. These pets must be common household pets, which are considered companion animals. So, while you might be pushing it bringing a crocodile or jaguar, dogs and cats are just fine!

To keep a pet at Ashton Woods, you’ll need to get approval from the Family & Graduate housing department at the University of Illinois. You’ll have to provide proof that your pet is up to date with its vaccinations, and pay a monthly $30 pet fee, which is non-refundable.

The university has strict rules to ensure the welfare of your pet. For example, your pet can’t be left for extended periods of time, and if there’s evidence that you’ve left it alone due to vacation, illness or any other absence, the university may remove it.

Obviously, it’s your responsibility as a pet owner to pick up any mess your pet makes (or, as the University of Illinois so delicately puts it: ‘shovel faeces from the University grounds and… place soiled cat litter in tied plastic bags”)

Even if you don’t have a beloved pet of your own, you can still attend the University of Illinois’ Pet De-stress events, which are currently online due to Covid-19.

You’ll make friends with some cracking canines, including Elmo, a five year old Parson Russell Terrier Poodle mix with a magnificent beard and a love of cheese, Maple, a toy poodle who might just be a teddy bear in disguise, and Ben, a three year old yellow Labrador, whose personality is “80% clown and 20% baby”

Harvard University

Who can forget Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, swishing off to Harvard with her adorable dog, Bruiser? With the film’s 20th anniversary coming up in 2021, we wanted to find out if you can really take your pet to Harvard University.

And… it’s official! Your pet has a place at Harvard (as long as they’re a cat, dog, bird or fish, at least). With as many as 12 pet-friendly apartments3, Harvard is a very pet-friendly university. Regular Harvard University Housing properties allow you to have fish in an aquarium of no more than 50 gallons, except for Harvard’s Cronkhite Graduate Center.

In Harvard’s pet friendly apartments4, you’re allowed:

  • One cat or one dog, which can’t exceed 40 pounds when fully grown.
  • A maximum of two domesticated pet birds

Harvard doesn’t permit you to keep reptiles, rodents or any other type of pet, except for the dog or cat, or two pet birds. If you’re living in a pet-friendly apartment, you’ll have to fill out Harvard’s Pet Authorization and Policies Rider, whether you are bringing a pet or not.

To find your perfect, pet-friendly apartment, you can select “pet friendly” as a criteria when you view Harvard’s properties. Alternatively, here’s the full list of Harvard University’s pet-friendly housing units.

If you’re a medical student, Harvard’s Countway Cuddles sessions (in Countway Library) give you the chance to interact with trained therapy dogs, as a way to de-stress from your studies.

A 2006 study co-authored by Liselotte Dyrbye found that levels of depression, anxiety and psychological distress were higher among medical students than their peers in other fields. Petting animals is proven to lower the stress hormone, cortisol, as well as lower blood pressure.

Countway Library used to have Shih tzu dog called Cooper for Havard Medical School students to cuddle and play with. After Cooper unfortunately disappeared from his home, Countway Library brought in two new therapy dogs to play, relax and snuggle with students. Jeter, a gorgeous chocolate Labrador, and Teddy, an adorable Coton de Tulear dog.

According to Miranda Mancusi, who is Jeter’s owner, therapy dogs have a calming presence because they’re very straightforward and unconditional in their affection.

Make sure you contact Countway Library about whether Countway Cuddles sessions are paused at the moment due to Covid-19.

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota is a fantastically pet-friendly university.

If you’re a student, you can have fish in a tank up to 10 gallons in your accommodation5, which might add a welcome splash of colour to your room.

You can also have pets in staff apartments and student family housing6, but you’ll have to make a request to campus housing for this.

The university also offers PAWS (Pet Away Worry & Stress)7 pet therapy sessions, where you can get your pet fix.

These sessions allow you to interact with a wide variety of animals, including bunnies, cats, dogs and even chickens! I don’t know about you, but seeing a chicken clucking around the university grounds would definitely take my mind off my study stress!

The ethos around PAWS is that, for many young adults, starting university for the first time means saying goodbye to beloved pets.

PAWS’ Animal Assisted Interactions (AAI) are provided by specially trained volunteers, and aim to provide emotional comfort in the form of some cute, fluffy friends, to take your mind off stresses including homesickness and missing your own pets.

PAWS is so popular that it’s even running online during the Covid-19 crisis.

You can interact with the PAWS animals via zoom on Mondays and Wednesdays. PAWS+, the university’s virtual feature of PAWS will also give you stress management tips during the global pandemic.

If you’re a staff member at the College of Veterinary Medicine on the University’s Twin Cities Campus, you could benefit from their ‘animals in the workplace policy’.

No more worrying about leaving your new puppy or restless dog at home, you can bring them to work!

If you bring an animal on to University of Minnesota property, it goes without saying that you’re responsible for its behaviour, and the safety of the people around you.

If you do bring an animal on campus, either because you’re allowed to do so for work, or you’re assisting with a pet therapy session, you must make sure it is up to date with all current vaccinations, and they must be secured by a leash or lead, or in a cage. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to service animals who can’t do their work if they’re on a leash.

If you’re a pre-veterinary student at the University of Minnesota, you also get the chance to train service dogs via the FETCH programme8.

This programme allows you to learn more about how service animals work, the service animals industry and. to volunteer with a local service animal provider.

You may even get the chance to foster a dog for a short amount of time, as you host and train it as a service dog. You’ll have to attend several training sessions while you’re training your service animal, and sometimes you’ll need to attend off-site training sessions.

University of British Columbia

At the University of British Columbia (UBC), you’re allowed to keep some animals in certain accommodation. For example, student family residence Acadia Park allows you to keep caged gerbils, caged birds and fish in an aquarium, as long as they don’t create a nuisance for other residents.

If you’re feeling stressed and homesick during term-time, you can take advantage of the university’s B.A.R.K (Building Academic Retention Through K-9s)10 programme, which ‘uses the restorative and calming power of therapy dogs to help students on campus’.

B.A.R.K started happening on campus at the University of British Columbia, after UBC Faculty of Education assistant professor Dr. John-Tyler Binfet noticed that he couldn’t walk across campus without students running over to play and interact with his dog, Frances.

The students would tell him they were homesick and missed their pets, which encouraged Binfet to establish B.A.R.L as a way of combatting their loneliness.

It’s not just student stress that the UBC is keen on combatting with some animal love.

For staff at UCB, there are several dog friendly offices11 that allow them to bring their dogs to work.

Stephanie Lim, an Administrative Assistant at UCB brings her Yorkie, Leia, into the office, and has noticed a big rise in stress relief and greater socialising among staff since bringing her. Apparently, nearly everyone at the office takes time out of visit Leia, and everyone leaves smiling. That’s pretty paw-some!


At MIT, you’re allowed to keep fish in tanks no larger than 20 gallons.

However you’re not allowed any pets in undergraduate or graduate hall. The term ‘pet’ includes mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians12.

If you’re a returning student in East Campus and Random Hall, you may be eligible for a program that allows you to keep some cats in certain residences. Currently, this programme is suspended due to Covid-19, but keep checking back to see when it might return.

One of the best things about MIT is its Puppy Lab, where you can come by to cuddle some extremely fluffy and adorable dogs. Puppy Lab aims to use the scientifically-proven stress-relief effects of interacting with animals, to support the MIT community with their mental health.

The pups at Puppy Lab (who will melt your heart) include Beatrix Potter, a gorgeous Boston Terrier who “loves showering new people with kisses” and Ben, a sweet golden retriever who ‘just wants to be loved’. Our hearts are melting already!

Puppy Lab works both ways, as many of us may have dogs that love attention and affection, and could do with more human interaction. If you’re a member of the MIT community, you can email [email protected] to start taking part in Puppy Lab events with your dog.

University of California San Diego

University of California San Diego (UCSD) is famous for its pet therapy program: Therapy Fluffies.

During Therapy Fluffies sessions, the university partners with Love on a Leash, an organisation which brings trained pets to visit anyone from residents in care-homes, to stressed out finals students at universities.

Love on a Leash says that the animals always put a smile on someone’s face.

So, if you’re a UCSD student, you can come along and pet some extremely fluffy dogs! What could be better?

At UCSD, you’re also allowed fish in tanks up to 10 gallons, at one tank per resident.

Some students have apparently been sneaky and got around the pets rule (not that we’re encouraging it). Kelly Gardner, a senior at UCSD said her older sister – also a former student of UCSD – had a cat called Fred living with her and her roommates in student housing15.

Fred must have been a pretty quiet cat, as nobody except those who lived with him ever knew about him. But some girls the year after Kelly’s sister got their own cat, who was “very vocal” and they got caught and had to return him.

University of Chicago

At the University of Chicago, you can have fish in a small aquarium less than 10 gallons, in university housing16. However, you’re not allowed any other kind of pet.

You can enjoy the university’s Pet Love15 programmes, which happen once every three months.

These are sessions when pet therapy dogs visit campus, to help reduce your anxiety and loneliness, and allow you to bond with other University of Chicago students through a love of animals.

Dogs are actually fantastic for helping people socialise with, as they provide a mutual, non-judgemental and adorable reference point for humans who are getting to know each-other.

Pet Love can only happen once every three months, because the University of Chicago organises the therapy dogs with non-for-profits, who are staffed entirely by volunteers, who aren’t always available.

All the dogs who visit the University of Chicago’s Pet Love events are Certified Training Dogs, who have gone through extra training with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy Organisation.

If you’re a cat lover, you might be wondering why there are no cat Pet Love events. Unfortunately, due to facility restrictions, it isn’t possible to have cats at Pet Love, so. you’ll have to make do with over-enthusiastic kisses and excessive tail wagging if you want to get your animal fix.

New York University

You may not be able to have your own pet at New York University (NYU), but you can enjoy the affections of Archie, NYU’s very own pet therapy pooch.

Archie joined NYU as an adorable six month old puppy. At just five pounds he was in full time training to spread joy, peace and cuddles as a therapy dog.

As well as being extremely fluffy, Archie is a serious student, and academic star. NYU tweeted in 2019 that Archie was “still studying for his exams”, but would soon become certified as a therapy dog.

Archie works at NYU’s Department of Public Safety, and was brought to provide animal assisted therapy for the NYU community.

Archie’s purpose is to provide comfort to students and anyone else in the NYU community, according to Karen Ortman, who is Assistant Vice President of Field Operations in the NYU Department of Public Safety.

As well as Archie, NYU has some pet friendly housing, although it’s for staff and not students. NYU faculty housing allows residents to have either one dog, or two house cats.

If you do choose to have a pet in faculty housing, you’ll need to put down a $500 pet deposit, which you’l get back when your lease is up, if no pet damage has occurred.

Students can have fish in a tank up to ten gallons.

Georgia Institute of Tech

At the Georgia Institute of Tech, you can keep ‘harmless aquatic fish’ in aquariums up to 10 gallons19, but no other type of pet. So, we’re thinking goldfish and guppies, not sharks and piranhas!

Georgia Institute of Tech also runs regular pet therapy events20 to help you cope with anything from the stress of university life, to relationship struggles and health concerns.

Health Initiatives at the Georgina Institute of Tech will now run pet therapy multiple times during the semester, rather than just during finals week, as they say that students and staff experience stress all year round.

Georgia Institute of Tech emphasises the positive effects of pet therapy, saying that it helps stimulate memory and problem-solving skills, reduces blood pressure and assists in pain management, and improves self-esteem and interactions with peers, colleagues, and professors.

Pet Therapy sessions at have been temporarily halted due to Covid-19, but you can sign up to the Georgia Tech newsletter for updates on when the sessions will restart.

Purdue University

If you’re a student at Purdue University, you’re only allowed small fish as pets, unless you live in Purdue Village housing

If you’re a student with a family or a graduate student in Purdue Village housing, you’re allowed to own small, caged animals in your apartment21. According to Purdue Village rules, a small animal is one that’s no bigger than an average guinea pig in adulthood (8-10 inches).

Make sure you check with Purdue Village Management to see if your pet fits within the pet policy. No pets are allowed in single graduate or undergraduate apartments in Purdue University.

Additionally, if you’re a student with a family (for example, you have dependents living with you), you can own dogs and cats in buildings 139-149 and 209-228 of Purdue Village.

You’ll have to register your dog or cat with the main office, and all pets can be no more than 30 pounds at full adult weight. You’re limited to two cats or one cat and one dog per apartment, if you’re allowed cats or dogs.

Whether or not you have a pet at Purdue, you can take advantage of Purdue’s Pet a Puppy club. Often, there’s nothing more joyful than a playful puppy, and petting one can really lift your mood.

Purdue Pet a Puppy22 club is actively involved in local, non-kill animal shelters, and brings dogs and puppies from these shelters for students to pet and play with.

This has amazing benefits for both the dogs and the students, as the dogs get some much-needed socialisation and affection outside of their shelters (as many shelters can’t afford to have people visiting the animals), and students get a relaxing cuddle with a lovely puppy.

Amazingly, these Pet a Puppy days can even lead to students adopting or fostering these dogs in the future (presumably when they’re living somewhere that they’re allowed pets!)

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine23 also has a Pets for People club. This club allows you. to learn more about the human-animal bond, how to register your pet as a therapy animal, and how to spread joy to others through introducing animals with them.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a therapy animal, as you can still go on visits with the club’s therapy animals to local schools, libraries and assisted living homes, and help the animals interact with residents and visitors.

McMaster University

At McMaster University, allowed pets or animals of any kind in your accommodation or any other university residence building24. This also applies to any guests who might bring pets or animals (you can get permission for approved service animals from the Housing and Conference Services staff).

However, McMaster University does has its own dog website, Dogs @ Mac, which covers the role of therapy dogs in university’s research. Dogs @ Mac have run sessions with therapy dogs at McMaster, to help students unwind and de-stress, as well as better understand the human-animal bond.

Princeton University

You’re not allowed to keep pets at Princeton University, unless you’re a staff member in certain housing. If you’re a staff member who lives in a university rental unit with direct access to the outdoors, you can keep dogs and cats25. You’ll have to register your pet with the Faculty & Staff Housing Office, and follow these rules as a pet owner.

If you’re a pet owner, you’re also required under New Jersey law to license your dog with your municipality. You can contact the Municipality of Princeton at (609) 924-5704 if you have any questions on how to do this.

Pet therapy is a bit of a mystery at Princeton, but they definitely do it! Princeton tweeted a video in 2019 of Harley and Sasha, two adorable, snuggly dogs who visited students to students unwind during finals week.

Princeton also previously had Wind Down Wednesday events with Marnie the therapy dog, who looks – from her pictures – like an extremely good girl.

Duke University

You’re allowed to keep legal species of Fish at Duke University, as long as they’re in a single aquarium no bigger than 25 gallons, and cleaned regularly26.

Other than the fish, you’re not allowed any animals, including dogs, cats, birds and reptiles.

If someone finds out that you’ve taken an unauthorised animal into a residence hall or apartment, you’ll have to pay for the extermination of the area.

Obviously, this does not apply to approved service or therapy animals,

Duke University runs dog therapy sessions called which take place during finals week, to help anxious students de-stress.

These dogs are part of the Duke Cancer Institute’s Pets at Duke programme, and they usually work to combat depression in oncology patients, and bring comfort to themselves and their families.

The Pets at Duke programme is currently unavailable due to Covid-19, but will hopefully return when restrictions ease.

UC Berkley

At the University of California, Berkley, (UC Berkley), you’re allowed fish in tanks no bigger than 20 gallons. No other animals, except service animals, are allowed.

However, if you’re living in UC Berkley University Village family housing, you’re also allowed small animals in tanks under 20 gallons and caged birds, as well as fish27.

UC Berkley also run Pet Hugs, an initiative which brings therapy dogs to campus to help improve mood, stress and emotional connection for students and staff.

Comments from students enjoying Pet Hugs events at UC Berkley include: “I don’t want this to ever end!” and “I’ve been so stressed out. I feel a lot better now”.

“Hallelujah for pet hugs! Always a real treat” reads a comment on one of Pet Hugs’ many Facebook pictures, containing some deeply adorable pictures of fluffy dogs.

Pet Huge is currently halted at the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions, but you can still get a virtual pet hug by going through Pet Hugs’ photo albums.

Ohio State University

You’re allowed to keep goldfish and other non-hazardous tropical fish in a 20-gallon or less tank at Ohio State University (OSU)28. However, other types of pets aren’t allowed in the university’s residence halls at any time.

Hazardous pet fish, such as piranhas are not allowed. We’re not sure how relaxing they’d be, anyway! If you have fish, you must remember to plan for them over the university break, and unplug aquariums before you leave, otherwise the water temperature will fluctuate and put your fish at risk.

OSU has an adorable therapy dog called Oxley who is a gorgeous, bouncy friend for students who want a cuddle or a relaxing game of fetch, to de-stress from their studies.

If you’re a student at OSU and you’re really keen to have a pet, you could consider living in off-campus, pet-friendly housing. Pets 4 Life has a useful list of pet-friendly apartments that are off-campus.

University of Pennslyvania

With the rise of Covid-19 restrictions, The University of Pennslyvania is taking its pet therapy into the future, with everything from doggy Zoom sessions to a virtual reality pet gallery.

As a student, you’re not allowed any pets other than fish that can fit humanely in a 20 gallon or smaller aquarium29.

Dog Days study breaks usually allow students to interact with cuddly therapy dogs. These are now taking place via Zoom, and there are different sessions for different pets, so you can choose based on your preference.

There’s Dexter, a gorgeous silky brown dog who is great at catching a ball in mid-air and loves tummy rubs. There’s also Duck, who is social-media famous with over 60,000 followers on Instagram. He also won a hot dog eating competition a few years ago, so he is a very accomplished dog.

The University of Pennsylvania also runs a Dog Days Gallery on Mozilla Hubs, where you can post a picture of your favourite dog or cat and get to see them in Virtual Reality. We’ve tried this ourselves, and it’s pretty cool. You can see Penn Library in VR, as well as little dogs, cats and inexplicably Pokemon-type creatures just hanging out.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), you’re allowed fish in a 20-gallon or smaller tank.

You can also enjoy interacting with dogs, as the university runs dog therapy events through an organisation called Dogs on Call. The lucky University of Wisconsin-Madison students have had pooches and pups from Dogs on Call visiting the university since 2009.

UW-Madison even has its own website entirely dedicated to the work of therapy dogs at the university.

The website is set up by Kaitlyn Wolfinger, a Journalism student at UW-Madison who greatly misses her two dogs at home. The website documents various Dogs on Call events, including dogs visiting Steenbock Library to comfort stressed out, studying students.

One student there said: “They make me feel ecstatic. I almost started crying”. Another said: “Oh my gosh, this is the happiest day of my whole semester” and “This is the first time I’ve actually relaxed or smiled in days”.

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

At UCLA, you’re allowed to keep fish in small tanks no bigger than 10 gallons, and all roommates must be happy with having a fish tank. You can’t have more than one fish tank per bedroom31.

UCLA runs Stressbusters, a program which has teamed up with UCLA People-Animal Connection (PAC) to provide therapy dogs. Therapy dogs visit Powell Library at UCLA to interact with students, and bring some joy to their stress-filled days. All students want to do as well as they can in their exams and studies, and a stress-relieving cuddle with a dog is sure to help you concentrate better.

PAC’s furry volunteers include Shepzel. and Mazel, two dogs who give high-fives for apples, and Pierre, a dog who loves a good belly rub.

University of Maryland

At the University of Maryland, you’re allowed to keep fish in a tank of 10 gallons or less, but no other pets32.

If you’re a University of Maryland student you can also enjoy Wags for Wellness, a program which allows students to connect with and cuddle therapy dogs up to three times a month. This is run by the University’s Stress Management program.

Every Wags for Wellness session involves a registered animal therapy team, consisting of one dog and one human. The sessions are especially sweet because they’re designed to help students’ emotional wellbeing, and to comfort them if they’re missing family pets.

Wags for Wellness try to make sure they have the same humans and dogs for each therapy session. This is great, as it gives you a sense of consistency if you start to bond with a particular dog.

You can find out when Wags for Wellness sessions are happening on the Wags for Wellness website. Sessions are currently paused at the moment, as the university tries to work out how to deliver them safely during Covid-19.

University of Michigan Ann-Arbour

At the University of Michigan Ann-Arbour, you’re allowed fish in tanks up to 10 gallons, as long as your roommates or flatmates agree to this.33

Otherwise, animals including birds, cats, dogs, reptiles and any other animal are not permitted in accommodation.

However, the University of Michigan Ann-Arbour does run Therapaws sessions with therapy dogs. Therapaws spread canine love to hospitals, schools and living facilities, as well as to University of Michigan students, to help them shake off the stress of their studies.

These sessions are so popular that they’re running online during the pandemic.

You’ll be able to see your favourite fluffy friends in their very own homes, via Zoom. Each dog will have its own Zoom break-out room, and you can visit each room as much as you want while they’re online.

Columbia University

At Columbia, you can have fish in a half-gallon tank or smaller. However, you’re not allowed any other pets in residence halls or brownstones (apartment complexes) at the university.

Columbia does offer dog therapy sessions with their community partner the Good Dog Foundation. And looking at pictures of the dogs, we can confirm that they look very good indeed! They usually visit campus once a month to bring ‘smiles and unconditional love’

The pooches you’ll get to interact with include Vespa, a poodle with the pure white spirals of a sheep, Cooper the Cavapoo, who might just have the fluffiest face on earth, and Bear the Great Dane Mix, whose eyes will melt your heart.

Sessions are running virtually at the moment due to Covid-19. If you’re a student, you can find times to meet the dogs online on the student wellness centre’s weekly newsletter and Instagram.

Columbia’s student wellness centre is stuffed with pictures of adorable, so that is worth a visit in itself.

Brown University:

You’re allowed fish in a tank up to 10 gallons in Brown University accommodation, but no other types of pets. If you violate these rules, you’ll be fined51.

Brown University occasionally hold dog therapy events. Brown Animal Assisted Therapy are a group who offer appointments with some adorable therapy dogs to Brown University students 52.

Medical students also helped sponsor a visit with four therapy dogs at Brown’s Alpert Medical School.

Stanford University

Stanford does not allow pets in student accommodation or workplaces43.

However, Stanford does have a corgi called Tucker44, whose job was to cuddle medical students who were having a stressful time or suffering with homesickness, and to comfort patients at Stanford Hospital.

At the moment, Tucker is comforting people via Zoom, as he doesn’t quite understand social distancing!

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is famous for its resident pets, who happily roam college grounds. These include college wildlife, cats and staff members’ dogs.

Many Oxford colleges have their own tortoise, and take part in the annual Corpus Christi tortoise race. The tortoise at Corpus Christi is called Foxe, and Christ Church’s tortoise is called Sampras.

Although you’re not allowed to keep your own pet as a student, several Oxford colleges hold dog petting and walking therapy sessions. Oxford Student Union organises welfare dog walks for students, to get some endorphin boosting exercise and cuddles with dogs.

If your college has resident cats and dogs, you can also play with and walk them. The dogs at Lady Margaret Hall even have their own instagram page!

Wolfson college is home to a splendid cocker spaniel called Jack. While he lives with the Bursar and his family, he’s also learning to be a therapy dog, and help the students of Wolfson relax and de-stress as they interact with him. If you’re a Wolfson student and you want to spend time with Jack, you can contact the PA to the Bursar at [email protected].

Since the 1970s, Hertford College at Oxford University has been home to a black cat named Simpkin35. There have been four Simpkins in total. Since Simpkin III passed away in 2016, Simpkin IV has been carrying on the dynasty. The current Simpkin likes to sleep in the library and has been with Hertford College since January 2017, after he was abandoned in Devon.

University of Cambridge

Just like its famous rival, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge offers several pet events for students.

Whether you’re walking Jack, a smooth-haired cocker spaniel, or cuddling a guinea pig or three legged cat, the chance to interact with animals can be very soothing indeed.

Cambridge University even has its own cat club, with the tagline: “Cambridge can be tough. So here are some cute kitties”.

One of the most popular events at Cambridge University is ‘Tea with Jasper’36, where you can interact with Jasper, a five-year old ginger tom, who was once pictured reading the Financial Times.

University of Bristol

The pet policy at the University of Bristol is somewhat ambiguous.

The student accommodation handbook states: “You must not have or keep pets in the Accommodation that could harm the Accommodation, affect subsequent tenants or be a nuisance to other tenants”37.

Make sure you contact the University of Bristol yourself with any specific questions about whether or not pets are allowed.

The University of Bristol has had a pop up puppy room in the past, with some gorgeous puppies in a variety of sizes and breeds. Over 200 students visited them for a cuddle and play as part of a mental health workshop.

Bristol also runs Pets as Therapy sessions38. In 2019, students were visited by four gorgeous dogs to help them cheer up and de-stress.

Bristol SU’s Student Living Officer, Stephen Le Fanu said: “Spending some time in a room full of furry friends is not just a pleasant antidote to revision boredom, but also soothes stress and boosts feel-good hormones.


UCL does not allow pets in its accommodation39. However, the university has called on any staff willing to register their dogs as therapy pets to help students40.

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) at UCL also held dog therapy sessions on campus to relieve exam-stress.

These sessions were very popular, and given their success, the SSW team is now looking to involve staff members’ dogs. Make sure you check with UCL whether this is on hold due to the pandemic, though.

If you’re a staff member and you do wish to register your dog as a therapy dog, they will need to have been with you for 6 months, be over 9 months old and have all their vaccinations.

University of Warwick

The University of Warwick does not allow pets or other animals in University residences41.

However, there have been pet therapy sessions in Warwick Library, to support students’ wellbeing. Warwick says: ‘research shows that companion animals like dogs help reduce anxiety and boost positive feelings”.42

London School of Economics (LSE):

If you’re an LSE student, you’re not allowed to keep any pets or other animals, reptiles or birds in your accommodation45.

LSE has also run puppy therapy in the past, as well as petting zoos to help students de-stress46. A quick glance at LSE’s twitter accounts and blogs shows gorgeous animals including donkeys, ducks and chickens.

University of Edinburgh:

The University of Edinburgh has a no pets policy, but of course allows assistance dogs47.

University of Edinburgh students have received visits from therapy dogs before, to help reduce their stress levels during exams48.

These dogs, who come from dog welfare charity Canine Concern Scotland Trust, include Miniature Poodle called Tigger, a Lhasa Apso called Mersey and two Cocker Spaniels called Maddie and Morgan.

King’s College London

You’re not allowed to keep any pets in residence at King’s College London, including any animal, bird, reptile insect or fish49. Of course, this does not apply to assistance dogs.

King’s also runs doggy de-stress days, pioneered by a dog loving King’s student50. There is a £2 suggested donation, which will go to the All Dogs matter charity.

Manchester University

At Manchester University you’re allowed to have fish in a five gallon tank, but no other pets53.

Manchester University has invited therapy dogs to campus before, including Billy the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel54. Billy, dubbed ‘higher education’s first dogtor’ came to visit medical students, and help them deal with the stress of their intensive studies.

So, there you have it. The most pet friendly universities in the US and the UK. We should add that all of these universities have provision for service animals, which are not usually considered pets, for those with disabilities.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the puppy cuddles and pet love you can have at the most pet-friendly universities, and that you find the perfect, animal-centred institution for you.