Just like kids, dogs love summertime! After all, days are longer and there are more opportunities for fun. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Whether your kids are headed back to the classroom or if they’ll be studying from home, your family’s daily schedule is about to change – and this can mean stress and uncertainty for your pet.
Luckily, we at DOGTV have come up with some simple ways to make the transition easier on your pet. Here are five tricks to try now.
Slow, gradual efforts win the race
Nobody likes sudden change, including Fido and Fiona. Some dogs are better left alone than others, but the truth is, all dogs can feel a little separation anxiety from time to time. If this is the first time you’re leaving your pooch on his own, before a time-management transition such as back to school, start getting your dog in the groove. Gradually introduce them to your new routine.
Get up earlier, take your pet for a morning walk, and start going through some of the motions you’ll be making as your kids prepare to head to school, or as everyone settles in for at-home-learning.
Change up your dog’s evening routine ahead of time if it’ll be affected by after-school activities. You might need to adjust mealtimes, your evening walks might happen at different times, and your whole family might have a different bedtime.
If your dog will need to spend time in a crate and it’s been a while since last time they were left by themselves while crated, gradually reintroduce them to their safe space by leaving them alone for short periods of time. Gradually extend the amount of time you’re away until they’re accustomed to longer naps in their crate.
Preparing Your Dog for Back to School Season Routines
Enrichment toys work wonders
Dog toys are better than ever! Designed to prevent boredom and alleviate stress, puzzle toys feature compartments that allow you to hide favorite snacks inside. Gather a few, show them to your dog ahead of time, fill them up with treats, and hide them before you leave. They’ll keep your dog occupied and soon, your pet might even look forward to those daily departures.
Want your pet’s favorite treats to last even longer? Add natural peanut butter to their puzzle toy along with other treats, store them in the freezer (use a freezer bag!) and pull them out right before you leave. Sticky, frozen peanut butter extends the fun and keeps your dog’s mind off the fact that the family schedule has changed.
Similarly, if work is dragging on late and you don’t have time to make your dog’s dinner, dog food delivery services are a popular option. Most owners love to give their pooch fresh food, but don’t have the time to make homemade. Food delivery services are a great alternative, offering the freshest food and custom plans that can be tailored to your dog’s age, weight and activity level.
Break the silence with DOGTV
Dogs appreciate stimulation, and content that’s created just for pets can help alleviate loneliness, stress, and separation anxiety. Sure, you can turn on some soft music or leave the TV on for background noise, but there’s something your pet is likely to appreciate even more:
Researchers created DOGTV with a dog’s hearing and vision in mind. The service is available on all the most popular streaming devices, and it’s free to try.
Different programming features focus on relaxation and mental stimulation. There’s even programming aimed at exposing pets to new sounds that might seem alarming (vacuum cleaners, anyone?) although we think this might be best for times when you’re home to provide reassurance!
Meet new pet sitters in advance
While many dogs can make it through a day at home without having to go out, others really need a break in the middle of the day. Extended work and school schedules call for help from a pet sitter, too! If you’ll be hiring anyone or relying on a neighbor, have them come in while you’re home, so they can get acquainted with your dog and run through their routine before you’re away.
First time with a pet sitter? Be sure they have a way to get in touch with you, and make sure they know how to contact your veterinarian in case they can’t reach you and there’s an emergency.
Enjoy more exercise!
Busy schedules mean we sometimes cut “non-essential” items from our routines, but make sure that walking your dog isn’t one of those things. The truth is, more exercise is better for you – and your dog! Your kids can benefit from longer walks, too.
Take time to get a vigorous morning walk and enjoy time outdoors in the evening, too. Lower stress, less anxiety, and better health are a few key benefits.
While we’ve put these tips together to help keep your dog’s anxiety and boredom at bay as kids head back to school, they’re appropriate for other times of transition, too. Give them a try: We’re sure your dog will appreciate the effort and feel more at ease.
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Guest post by Emma Williams