School buses are rolling, classes have started, and families are transitioning from a summer routine to a school routine. While working out the school year plans, let’s remember the furry family members that will be left at home after the school bus passes. Busy schedules that are filled with early departures for school, late returns from after school activities, and nights filled with homework leave little time for pet care.
Here are a few tips to help your pet(s) start the school year off right!
1. Start your day with a loving greeting from your furry friend. A quick hug from your dog or cat will start the day off on a good foot (or paw).
2. Set the alarm clock 5 minutes early so you have time to take the dog on a morning walk.
3. Don’t make a big deal of leaving. Fussy departures only increase separation anxiety. Just tell you cat or dog, “See ya later”, without prolonging the goodbye.
4. When you return home, take your dog for a longer walk to help you wind down from the busy school/work day while giving him a little exercise.
5. Let your pet rest beside you as you do your homework. Any contact with you is good for the pet, even if you’re focused on Algebra instead of him.
6. Make time to play. When you are done with homework and after school chores or activities, how about a little play time with your pet? You both deserve a break.
7. Include your pet in the family dinner. If he eats his food when you eat yours, she is less likely to beg at the dinner table.
8. Go for a quick night-time walk and help your pet (and you) settle down for the evening. A good night’s sleep will prepare you for the next day!
As the school year progresses, your family’s schedule will change. Just remember to include your pet in theses changes. If a soccer game means your dog won’t get dinner until 9 pm, leave a little extra food in his bowl before you catch the bus. If an after school meeting means you won’t be home to walk him, ask a neighbor or a sibling to do it for you.
Taking care of the family pet involves the entire family. Students and parents working together makes a family much more fun!