Back to school: Pencils, check. Backpack, check. Fido? - The Trupanion Blog
Underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company

Back to school: Pencils, check. Backpack, check. Fido?

Photo shared by Trupanion policyholder Amanda W.

It’s that back-to-school time yet again. Aside from school supply lists and new shoes, we may forget to take into consideration what “back to school” means—for our pets. While it’s something we don’t tend to think about, pets experience a big shift from having kids home all the time to being alone. If you’re lucky like me and get to take your pet to work then this doesn’t apply to you. But for everyone else, here are some quick fixes to making that transition easier for your pet.

Don’t forget that pets need lots of exercise, no matter what the season. If they’re going to be home alone for longer stretches, a good idea is to make sure they get daily walks or play time. A walk or quality play time before you leave will relieve your pet of some of that energy in preparation for a long boring day at home. Of course long walks are ideal, but even if you can spare an extra ten minutes, your pet will thank you. It’s also extremely beneficial to your pet to give it some exercise in the evening as well. According to Colleen Paige’s article in Urban Dog Magazine, a dog’s energy cycle typically causes it to be most active in the morning and evening times. Check out this blog post for exercise activity ideas.

Prepare for unusual behavior. Pets with separation anxiety might act out by destroying things other than their own toys and having “accidents” around the house. Be sure to desensitize your pet to your leaving and returning by keeping the whole ordeal very low-key. Learn more tips on how to deal with separation anxiety.

Lastly, crank up the love. I’m sure you smother your pet with love as it is, but since no one’s home during the day to attend to your furry friend, you can make up for lost lovin’ after work or school by giving your pet a little extra attention. Teach your pet some new tricks as the mental stimulation will keep him entertained and prevent destructive behaviors. Try out a new toy, or just snuggle while you watch TV. Keeping your pet happy will help him easily get accustomed to the new routine.

Though some pets are relatively unaffected by this change in routine, it’s still a good idea to make sure that they are doing well with the transition. What it all boils down to is this: Be sure to spare time between homework, lunchboxes and report cards to give plenty of love and exercise to your four-legged companion.

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