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J Vet Med Educ. 2019 Winter;46(4):438-448. doi: 10.3138/jvme.1017-148r.

Veterinary Student Stress, the Benefit of Canine Pets, and Potential Institutional Support of Dog Ownership.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences.
Veterinary Information Network.


The stress of veterinary school and the high prevalence of psychological distress among veterinary students have been well documented. Pet ownership is known to improve overall health and reduce stress among the public. Yet, for veterinary students, owning a pet (especially a dog) can offer both rewards and challenges. The academic schedule for veterinary students often comprises long hours that can make caring for a dog challenging. This study explores the area of veterinary students' dog care options and perspectives by examining two aspects of this issue: (a) currently available options, as reported by academic administrators, and (b) perceived need for these options, as reported by veterinary students. A survey of associate deans for academic affairs (n = 30) found that routine on-site kenneling options for student-owned dogs are available at eight (26.6%) veterinary schools. Simultaneously, results of a student survey (n = 768) revealed a great desire for on-campus services. Among students who did not have access to on-campus kenneling facilities, 71.5% (453 of 634) felt that creating these options would be important or very important. Across all students surveyed, 76% (581 of 764) felt it would be important to have on-site dog housing/care available. Students experience considerable stress over having to find accommodations or care for their dogs while engaged in academic activities. Thus, providing on-site boarding and care options for student-owned dogs can play an important role in both recruiting prospective veterinary students and enhancing the well-being of those currently in the program.


dog ownership; student services; veterinary student stress; wellness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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