Hello, September! Where did the summer go?! September always reminds me of crisp mornings, waiting for the bus on the first day of school. It’s like the unofficial start to Fall! I’m more than happy to have my school days WAY behind me! If you have little ones in the house that are getting ready to return to school, keep in mind that this change does effect your dog too! Many pets have grown accustomed to extra time and attention with their families over the summer. It’s a bit of a transition as many members of the household return to school and work and the home becomes empty and quiet during the day.
In this post I’m going to discuss 5 back to school tips for dogs.
1. Adjust Your Dog’s Daily Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. Before school starts, ease into a daily routine that mirrors a typical school day. Just like kids, pets have become accustomed to staying up late, vacation time, extra snuggles, and sleeping in. Set up a routine that includes specific times for feedings, walks, bathroom breaks, and play time! Not only does this help create a balanced structure for your dog, it’s teaching your kids about responsibility.
2. Slowly Ease into the Separation
What does separation anxiety look like? Destructive chewing, scratching, excessive barking, and accidents in the home. If your dog is prone to separation anxiety, ease them back into longer periods of separation before the school year. If your dog is crate trained, take an extended errand run. This progression will prove to your dog that you will return and get them used to longer periods of separation. After all, a dog’s worst fear is that you aren’t going to return home!
3. Give Your Pet Some Interactive Toys
Interactive toys like the Kong and puzzle games can be a life saver for keeping your dog’s mind occupied! These toys are fun and provide a mental workout for your pet . . . and prevents them from chewing their way through the couch when they’re bored!
4. Burn Off Some Energy!
Exercise can help reduce boredom and behavioral issues by burning off nervous energy. Make sure to schedule time to take your dog out for walks early in the morning before everyone leaves for school and work. Don’t forget those after school/work walks too!
5. Schedule Important Pet Appointments Before School Starts
Once school starts there’s going to be tons of obligations such as games, appointments, meetings, and of course those unexpected emergencies. If you can get your pet’s vet and grooming appointments taken care of in the summer, it will help alleviate some of that stress. If not, I recommend scheduling them now before school starts and putting it on a shared family calendar.
Do you have any little ones returning to school? How are you helping your pets adjust to the new schedule?