Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

What To Do With Your Dog When Kids Go Back To School.

Can you believe that in less than one week it’s back to school time for the kids of Elmhurst?

Back-to-school inevitably signals changes in our routines and everyone is most likely away from home for much longer periods of time. These changes can be especially hard on our family pet which can ultimately lead to depression or behavior problems.

Here are a few things you can do to help your pet's transition when the kids go back to school.

  1. Ease them into change. If there’s still time, have the entire family leave the house for increasingly longer periods so your dog is familiar with being alone. If your dog does struggle with separation anxiety at a high level, start getting the lunch boxes and book bags out throughout the day to help desensitize them to these objects that they will otherwise associate with being left alone. 
  2. Establish a routine. Dogs are creatures of habit and changes in their routine can be the biggest cause of stress. While your scheduling carpools and after-school activities, it’s important to establish Fido’s new routine. Be sure to set regular feeding, walking, and play times for them. 
  3. Increase your dog’s exercise. Many studies show that increasing your pet’s aerobic activity by only 30-minutes a day will help to eliminate separation anxiety. Just like humans, dogs are best equipped to relieve stress through physical outlets. Hiring a dog walker or dog runner to visit them midday will not only break up their day and give them a potty break, but it will allow them to burn off energy and relieve any boredom. You may even want to consider taking them to doggy daycare on days where you will be away for a prolonged period of time. 
  4. Have a variety of mentally stimulating toys to play with. Puzzle toys that encourage your dog to look for hidden treats or Kong toys with a bit of peanut butter or other fillers will entertain your dog. 
  5. Break out some tunes. It’s a common practice in dog shelters to play certain types of calming music to help the dogs relax at night. While it’s not a guarantee, I’ve found that playing classical music eases my dogs into a relaxed state. 
  6. Quality (time) over quantity. Now that schedules are full, your dog may not get as much playtime or attention as they did during summer. Make sure you make the most of the time you spend with them. Long walks, trips to the park, lounging around on the couch, fetch in the backyard – do whatever you know makes them the happiest. Chances are, getting attention from you will make them happy so be sure your setting aside time for your pooch every day.

About the Author John Reh

John started the Dogs Love Running! pet care service in 2008 to help dogs live longer and behave better. The DLR! team has since helped over 2,000 clients and completed over 225,000 pet care visits. We love dogs!

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