Back to School: Helping your dog adjust to their new life

Boy doing homework with dog by his side
Some of our family members will be heading back to school soon, which means life will be changing for our pets too. Instead of walks, treats, cuddles and play time during the day, our pets will have to wait for us to get home to get some extra attention. This change in behavior may not affect our cats so much, but this change in routine can cause anxiety for dogs. You can help your dog adjust to its new lifestyle with these tips:
Create a routine with the entire family
Create a daily schedule with a morning and evening routine and include feeding, walks and play time roughly around the same time every day. For example, a morning and evening routine could look like this: 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 for most of the day. The sound of the television or radio with human voices or calm music can be quite soothing for pets.
Stimulate them with interactive 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!
Part-time doggie day care or dog walker
If you have a social dog, a doggie daycare can be a 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 play time.
Schedule quality time with your pet
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 means 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 our attention too.
Back-to-school isn’t easy on anyone in the family. It’s a process that takes time, preparation, patience and consistency. When those back-to-school calendars get organized, schedule in daily “pet time” and consider some of the above tips to help the transition of going back to school run smoothly for everyone in the family.