The end of summer is always a bittersweet time. It’s great to have cooler weather and spend time with family, but the return to school also means an earlier bedtime for kids and more alone time for pets. For many animals, the change from relaxed summer days to weekday routine can be difficult. Here are three tips to help your pet smoothly transition back into their normal routine.
#1: Set up your back-to-school schedule ahead of time
Going from a leisurely wake-up time of 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. is a big adjustment, even for pets who have the entire day to snooze. Instead of abruptly switching the breakfast and walking schedule on the first day of school, ease into a new routine. Wake up a bit earlier each day to help your pet become acclimated to an earlier breakfast time, and ensure they have plenty of time to eat and digest prior to that last walk before you head out the door to school and work. This may mean you need to wake up 15 to 30 minutes before the rest of the household to give your furry pal time to eat and eliminate.
#2: Provide entertainment for your pet while you’re gone
After a summer filled with fun family activities, your pet is likely to become bored when left home alone while the kids are back in school. Provide entertainment to ward off problem behaviors like destructive chewing, excessive barking, or inappropriate elimination. Treat puzzles are a great way to keep your pet occupied for an extended period of time and can be used with canned or dry food or a variety of fresh veggies, fruits, and other healthy snacks. You also can purchase interactive toys like a ball launcher that lobs balls down the hallway for your dog to chase or a robotic mouse that tries to outwit your cat. Leaving the TV or radio on can help break the silence, too, or you can hire a pet sitter to spend time with your furry pal.
#3: Incorporate plenty of exercise into your daily routine
Since your family won’t have as much free time, exercise your pet intentionally. A pet who receives plenty of exercise is less likely to find their own mischief throughout the day, plus it provides an extra bonding opportunity when you’re short on time.