Your Kids Are Back in School and Your Pets are Sad!
24 September, 2013

If you have kids that recently went back to school, they are adjusting to their new classes, schedule and longer days.  However, we sometimes don’t think about the profound effect that the kids leaving the house could have on our cats, dogs, or even hamsters.  Your pets are so used to the kids being with them and don’t really understand where the summer playmates have gone.

Not all cats, dogs and/or pets react the same way when the kids go back to school, but if you notice a difference in your pet’s behavior, it might simply be that they miss your kids and the house is so quiet without them.

Below are some tips to help your pets get used to the quiet house again.

Is your dog or cat behaving differently?

If you notice that your dog or cat is acting differently such as sleeping more often than normal, maybe chewing on something they haven’t in the past, or even going to the bathroom where he or she shouldn’t, your pet might be having a little case of separation anxiety.   Or maybe your dog is waiting by the door all day for your kids to return home or your cat scratching up your furniture.

Your pets will get used to the fact that your kids are gone, but try the below tips to ease the anxiety.

Make sure you have a comfortable place for your dog or cat

Ensure that your dog or cat feels safe and comfortable when you are away from him or her. Provide plenty of fresh water and warm bedding for you pet. Leave your pet a blanket or piece of clothing that has your scent on it. This may comfort a distressed doggy or kitty and make sure it is something you don’t mind being torn up though. A toy is also a great way to keep your dog or cat distracted.

Do a few practice short time exits

If your cat or dog is acting up, try to do some short practice exits so your pet can feel safe when you return. Grab your belongings and say your goodbyes, but only leave for a few minutes. Increase these practice exits by five or 10 minutes at a time. After a couple of days, your pet should be comfortable being alone for a few hours and then even longer.

Try to get your cat or dog to be independent

Both adults and children can actually become co-dependent with their pets by spending every moment with them. While you should always show plenty of love and affection to your pet, remember that independence is healthy.  Try to have your dog in a certain spot to keep him from following you and your family members around the house, and then praise him or her quietly when you return to the room.  Or if you have a cat, since they are a lot more independent, just pet him or her and let your cat return to what he or she is doing.

Try leaving the TV on or some entertainment for your dog or cat

Leave something to engage your cat or dog’s attention when your kids are at school.  Try some background music or leaving the television on while they are away.  You can also give your cat or dog at toy that will keep them distracted.

Play or exercise with your cat or dog before you leave

If your kids can walk your dog or play with him before they leave for school, it would be some quick bonding and tire your pups out.  Or, if you have a cat, make sure your kids pet him or her, maybe throw a mice or play with their favorite laser toy before they head out to school.  

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