t’s that time of year again! Summer is (unfortunately) winding down, and school is right around the corner. Of course, we hope your children’s back-to-school transition is smooth—but this article is for your four-legged kids!
Back to school? For pets?!? While your furry friend might not attend school, any changes in your schedule impact them. So, keep reading to learn straightforward ways to keep them safe, happy, and stress-free!
Introduce New Routines
Will your family be waking and leaving the house earlier than usual? Try taking your dog on early morning walks.
Will your home be emptier during the day? Consider introducing this concept by leaving the house for increasing time increments. Run errands, meet up with a friend, hang out at a library—whatever you do, slowly increase the amount of time.
This process could allow your pet to adjust to your absence gradually. Put yourself in your pet’s paws; if your best friend suddenly disappeared for eight hours, wouldn’t you be stressed?
Cats are especially sensitive to routine changes. If your new school schedule disrupts your cat’s mealtime routine, you may want to invest in a timed feeder bowl. When you are home, focus on one-on-one interactions with your feline friends.
Play and Exercise
Exercise has the potential to boost your mood, and the same is true for your four-legged companions. If possible, take your dog on a walk before you leave in the morning and again when you arrive home.
We know, we know, sleep is precious! An early morning before-school walk may not sound appealing, but it will give your dog the ability to burn energy. The last thing you want is a bored, high-energy dog cooped up in the house!
Your cat also needs exercise. So, find a variety of toys they enjoy and start playing. If your cat is only interested in that one random garbage scrap, use it! Play on their terms.
Both cats and dogs can benefit from puzzle toys. Before you leave, hide treats in a puzzle toy and let your furry friends do the rest. Your pet will be able to smell the yummy treats—now they have to problem solve to find them!
Other Household Pets
At the Humane Society of Macomb, we primarily work with cats and dogs, but other pets are impacted by the back-to-school season!
Is your child the primary caretaker of a pet? Sit down with them and go over their schedule. Whether your child has a hamster, rat, lizard, or other pet, make sure they understand that it is a living creature that requires direct care.
Another family member might need to cover pet care occasionally, depending on the child’s school and extracurricular schedule. If you create a game plan before you need it, everyone’s lives will be easier, and the pet will receive consistent care.
We hope this information helps you ease back into the school season! If you need a little extra help with your four-legged friend, we offer affordable and compassionate feline and canine behavior advice and training for the community.
Rocky Doodle Dandy is the adorable pup featured in the cover photo!