Kids aren't the only members of the family who look forward to summer vacation. Because pets tend to get more attention during the holidays when the kids are home, it can be difficult for some pets to adjust when the kids go back to school and aren't home as much. Here are some tips to help your pet through the transition from the chaos during the summer to the calm in the fall:
One of the best ways to avoid separation anxiety in pets is to avoid getting your pet worked up before you leave. While it's natural to want to hug and kiss your pet goodbye before you go, your pet may pick up on your routine and associate "goodbye" with "I'm about to be left alone." It's best to make the event as unceremonious as possible and slip out when your pet is distracted. If your pet starts to get anxious before you have even left the house, try to change up your getting ready routine. Pets are very observant and may take note of your leaving-home habits!
Make Them Think
Pets benefit from all of the mental and physical stimulation when the kids are home to play with them, so make sure they have something else to keep them occupied until the kids get home from school. There are a number of different puzzle toys available that can keep your pet entertained. Pet stores offer a variety of toys that can be filled with kibble or treats that allow your pet to use their nose, paws, and problem-solving skills to release their reward (just be mindful of how much extra food they are given so you can adjust meal amounts accordingly to prevent over-eating and weight gain).
Your pet can't miss the kids if they are too tired to notice they aren't home! A morning walk, a rigorous round of tug-of-war, or a laser pointer show can get your pet moving and wear them out so your pet can happily snooze the day away and be ready to play again when everyone comes home. For safety purposes, do not shine laser pointers directly at any person or pet, especially their face/ eyes. Avoid leaving pets unattended with rope toys or other toys in which your pet could possibly ingest string or string-like material, as this poses high risk for intestinal blockage.
Show Some Extra Love
Try to spend some extra time loving on your pet before and after work, or throughout the day if you are home. Make up for the time your pet spends alone by setting aside some time every day to make sure their social needs a met. A short walk, some quality cuddle time in front of the TV, or a play session with their favorite toy can help pets feel less lonely on the days they are missing the kids. A special treat like a stuffed Kong or frozen fruit can make your pet feel a little spoiled AND keep them occupied. It's a win-win!
Put on a Show
Wouldn't it be difficult to sit at home all day with nothing to do? Nothing beats quality one-on-one time with your pet, but leaving the television and radio on or opening the blinds so your pet can see out into the world can make them feel less lonely and give them something else to focus on until you can get home to entertain them yourself!
While it is normal for pets to change their behavior when major events have occurred, such as kids going back to school, home renovations, or a new addition to the family, significant or unexplained changes in mood, energy levels, and appetite can be cause for concern. For any questions or to schedule a consult, please give us a call at 972-347-6100!