Lets face it, back-to-school after such a long break is not going to be easy for anyone. Especially if you’ve been schooling your kids from home during the pandemic. And while it’s been a nice break from the routine, our pets rely on routines for their mental and physical health. Summer break creates new routines and our pets have no idea what comes next. Once the house is emptied out again, our pets will feel lonely and bored…the Doldrums.
Here are some tips to help your dog or cat cope with your kids’ return to school and the new routines of being busy.
Practice the New Daily Routine
Pets thrive on routine, and making sure your dog or cat can anticipate what’s on the schedule throughout the day can go a long way toward relieving stress. A couple of weeks before school begins, sit down with your family and discuss your new schedule. Be sure to talk about how your pet fits into the new routine. Then start practicing. Each day, get up at the appointed time (an added benefit is that by the time school actually starts, you will be prepared and ready to go!). Feed your pet at the same time each day. Take Fido on a walk each morning or evening, and incorporate some playtime with Fluffy. Consider a daily walk or playtime with a PawPrintPetSitting pet sitter or walker to break up their day.
Exercise for Happy Pets
Being alone all day can create pent-up energy for a dog or cat. An active pet is a happy pet, and the way to accomplish that is exercise! Before you leave in the morning, play a rousing game of fetch with your pup or take her jogging with you. Cats often enjoy a round of playtime with a feather toy or a laser light. Consider a daily walk or playtime with a PawPrintPetSitting pet sitter or walker.
The anxiety in the mornings can be stressful for your pets too. They can sense the urgency and feel anxious as well. They It can also be upsetting for a child who is feeling bad about leaving their pet alone. If you have practiced your routine and know what time it takes to be ready it reduces the anxiety quite a bit. Talk to your children about leaving a pet and not to worry. If you have a PawPrintPetSitting visit during the day, let your child know they won’t be alone all day and not to worry. If you are relaxed and matter-of-fact, Fluffy is more likely to calmly accept the change in routine.
Daily Distractions Work Wonders
No doubt you’d be bored if left home alone all day with nothing to do, and it’s likely your dog or cat feels the same. Instead of heading out the door with nothing more than a pat on the head, consider investing in some activities for your pet. There are a variety of interactive puzzles for dogs on the market, and a frozen peanut-butter-filled Kong can keep her busy for quite a while after you leave. Your kitty may benefit from a sprinkle of catnip on some fun toys, and many cats enjoy hunting for tasty treats hidden throughout the house.
If you are gone most of each school day, you may want to consider doggy daycare for Fido. Even if he attends just one or two days a week, it gives him a chance to socialize and play. Another option is a PawPrintPetSitting dog walker who stops by to take him on a long walk during the afternoons or PawPrintPetSitting 1-on-1 playtime visits with another Fido friend.
Summer days are usually filled with activity and noise, and the sudden absence of noise quiet can leave your furry friend feeling anxious. Turning on some music or talk radio while you are gone can make your kitty or puppy feel not so alone.
Grandmother and girl looking at photo album petting a cat
Spend Some Quality Time
Your pet is likely used to having you around a lot more now that summer is coming to a close, and your family being gone is going to be quite an adjustment. Spend quality time with your pet, and make it a part of your daily routine. Go for a long walk in the morning, brush her for 15 minutes in the evening—whatever activity you and your pet enjoy doing together, set aside some time each day for it.
The adjustment to going back to school is a big one for everyone involved. However, considering your pet’s needs before the day arrives can go a long way toward making the transition easier.