Back to School and the Family Pet

With shorter days, the ‘running around’ rush of back-to-school and the change in routine can be confusing for our pets. Instead of going for a morning walk or to the park for play time, they are now suddenly stuck indoors and left alone for most of the day. This change in behaviour may not affect our cats so much, but our dogs will wonder what’s going on. This will require a need for a more structured and a set schedule, as these changes in routine could result in anxiety.
Here are some of our back to school tips:
Set a daily routine & include the kids
The daily schedule should include a morning and evening routine which should include: feeding, walks and play time roughly around the same time every day. For example, a routine could include: morning breakfast and a walk around the block before or to school, play time after school and dinner, and family time with a walk in the evening.
Give them something to listen to
A quiet house can feel a bit strange, especially if it’s most of the day. The sound of the television or radio with human voices or calm music can be quite soothing for our pets.
Enrichment toys
When there is no one around to play with, pets can often get bored and sometimes destructive. Rotating a selection of safe toys to leave around could help your pet stay occupied. Interactive toys and food puzzle toys can help keep your pet’s interest for longer periods. A stuffed and frozen Kong makes a great long-lasting treat!
Daycare or Dog Walker
If you’ve got a social dog, a doggie daycare can be great idea to have fun and release some energy 1-2 times per week. If you have a senior dog or one that’s not so social, consider hiring a dog walker to come in a couple times a week for some extra one-on-one attention and some extra play time.
Family or Quality Time
It’s important to reconnect with your pets after a busy week. Activities like long walks at the park or a hike, playtime with everyone in the backyard, and cuddle time on the couch mean so much to our pets. With all the hustle and bustle it can sometimes be easy to take them for granted and forget that they need much of our attention too.
Back-to-school isn’t easy on anyone in the family. It’s a process that takes time and preparation, patience and most of all consistency. Make sure when those back-to-school calendars get organized to schedule in daily “pet time” and to consider some of the above tips to help the transition of going back to school run smoothly for everyone in the family.