Back-to-school routines do not just affect the lives of children and their parents; they also impact the lives of the family pets. Pets can become very distressed and act up when children return to school after the summer holidays by leaving “accidents” inside the children’s brand new shoes or chewing up one of the children’s toys. What can you do to help your trusted pooch or loyal moggy overcome the back-to-school blues?
Pets’ Routine is Important Too!
When children return to school, the summer routine will inevitably change to accommodate the children’s new schedule. No more late nights in front of the TV cradling Fluffy or chasing after Fido in the back garden into the wee hours. Pets love their routine and find great comfort in the feeling of security that they have built up with their family.
But when the children go back to school, the back-to-school blues can set in for the pets. For a smoother transition, start to make gradual changes two or three weeks before the children return to school. Start by establishing new school bedtimes and other routines so that the pets will get used to the changes gradually and not act up when school finally reopens.
How to Change Feeding Times
Feeding times are important for pets. Many base their day around their set feeding times and look forward to that time. However, when the children return to school, pet owners usually change the times the pets are fed and this can disturb the usual feeding pattern and routine that the pets were used to during the summer months. According to Trish Spencer, the author of Prevent back-to school blues for your pet, if pets will be fed earlier, set the food out right before the children leave for school and if you feed the pets twice each day, try to schedule mealtimes as close to the usual evening feeding as you can.
Do Not Neglect Pets’ Emotional Needs
It is easy to become so swamped by homework, preparing for tests and getting ready for the next school day that spending time with the family pets falls by the wayside. After the children have completed their homework, chores and other necessary tasks, encourage them to spend time with the pets. Parents should also help out and play their part by walking the dog, playing fetch, grooming the cat or taking part in other activities that will assure pets that they are still valued members of the family.
Pets are sensitive to change and can act up when children return to school. Take the needs of your pets into consideration to help overcome back-to-school blues. Re-establish a new routine and gradually change feeding times. Finally, do not neglect pets’ emotional needs.
Prevent back-to-school blues for your pet, by Trish Spencer