Sep 07 2016

How to Ease the Back to School Transition For Pets

How to Ease the Back to School Transition For Pets

Parents may be jumping for joy now that kids are back in school (I admit; I’m happy to have my dedicated work time back!) but you know who’s not jumping for joy? The family pets.

Most pet love summertime when the kids are at home. There’s more action, more walks, more playtime, more treats…just more fun. Pets thrive on routine and all summer that routine has been F-U-N.

So it’s no surprise there’s a let down when the more exciting, active members of the household are gone all day and the routine your pets have grown used to changes.

Pets get lonely. They get depressed. They get anxious. Yes, it’s a thing. And, no offense adults, but even if you’re home all day, you’re just not as awesome as the kids.

How can you tell when a pet is feeling some back-to-school blues? Dr. Kurt Venator fromPurina offers a few indicators:

♥ Inappropriate urination or defecation
♥ Excessive barking or howling
♥ Chewing windowsills, doorframes, etc.
♥ Change in appetite
♥ Nervous pacing

Of course, if your pet is exhibiting any of these behaviors, take him to the vet for a check up, just to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your furbaby.

Then, take some steps to help your pet ease into the new routine. Here’s what Dr. Kurt recommends:

Create a new schedule and stick to it

Since pets do well with routine (most of us do, after all!) look at your new school day routine and try to stick with the same sequence of events each day. For example, as soon as the kids come home, the dog gets to go for a walk or play in the yard.

Speaking of play…make sure to have designated play time

Play time is bonding time and impacts your pet’s positive health and wellbeing. Make sure your kids spend time each day playing with your pet. As mentioned above, perhaps incorporate the play time into your routine so everyone knows when to expect the fun to commence!
Play ball with your dog in the backyard, break out the feather wand for your cat, put the hamster in his wheel, whatever! Just make sure you to make time for your pets.

Be present for your pets

This is a big one for all of your important relationships. It’s tough, especially with homework, packing lunches, sports activities and more. But make it a point to really be there with your pet when you are giving him attention. Instead of giving him a hurried pat on the head, get on the floor with your pet, talk to him, look him in the eyes and connect. This “presence” has the added benefit of helping reduce stress in humans; something you are going to need during the hectic school year so, YAY.

Get your pet some exercise

Hoo, boy. We can all use this one. Get yourself, your pet and your kids on a walk schedule. Walk before school/work and after school/work. Get active. Make time for it. Your pets need it. And, don’t kid yourself, you need it too.

Find some interesting distractions

Dr. Kurt says find some things to distract your pet and keep him busy while he’s home. Chew toys for dogs are great. Food puzzles for dogs and cats can keep them busy for quite a while when they’re home alone. Some people suggest leaving TV or radio on when you’re out of the house, too.

Even if your pet’s not exhibiting signs of loneliness and anxiety, it doesn’t mean he isn’t impacted. Incorporate the tips above and your pet and your entire family will more easily transition into the new school year. Well, other than the homework part. We can’t help you with that one! Sorry!

Article provided by Crayons and Collars, Life with Kids and Pets

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