Back-to-School Blues?

Here’s 5 Things You Can Do for Your Pet

The start of the school year can be a tough transition for everyone in the household, including pets.

According to the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston, any major shift in schedules and pace of the day can trigger separation anxiety. In fact, PET360 discovered that 20% of pet owners with school-age children report their pets showed signs of anxiety or depression when everyone in the house shifted back into to their school-year routine at the end of the summer.

With the sudden absence of family and activity in the house during the day, pets can also become bored and depressed. As a result, many pet owners report new and sometimes unpleasant behaviors like chewing or not sleeping at night.

Here are 5 things you can do to help your pet battle the back-to-school blues:

1. Keep regular feeding times

For most pets, feeding time is a highlight of their day, so it’s key to keep breakfast and dinner at the same time every day.

2. Exercise

Walking your dog and setting aside at least 15 minutes to play with your cat or other pet are essential to burning off extra energy.

3. Schedule a visit to your vet

Just like people, animals need yearly check-ups too. Take your pets to the vet once a year to ensure signs of depression are not health-related.

4. Engage your pet with a food puzzle

When you leave the house for the day, put out a food puzzle for them—even rabbits and other small animals enjoy food puzzles.

5. Learn new tricks

Pick a new trick to teach your pet and have the whole family work together on training him or her. Cats, ferrets, and other animals also learn tricks and commands as well.

For dog owners, the ARL also suggests getting your pooch back to school by signing up for a dog training or enrichment class. With offerings such as “Good Manners,” “Sniffing for Fun,” and “Agility for Fun,” the ARL offers some stimulating options at its Boston shelter for dogs of all ages. To learn more or to register, visit arlboston.org/dog-training.

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