As summer nears an end those three dreaded words every child fears start popping up everywhere – back-to-school. Two to three months of summer adventures come to a close leaving some parents relieved for their households to resume their usual routine. But what about pets? Whether you’ve adopted a new pet over the summer months or have the same family friend, back-to-school time can be rough on them. As adults head out the door in the morning for work and daily errands and children rush off to the school bus pets are often left home alone for the majority of the day.

 Pets don’t like back-to-school time any more than their owners do…


Make sure you are still meeting their basic needs. Sometimes in the rush to get everyone out the door on time, a pet can be overlooked. This can be a problem any time of the year but especially during the first back-to-school months when routines are being formed. Your family may find it helpful to use a dry-erase board on the refrigerator to make a morning pet checklist.


Back-To-School Checklist Ideas
  • Ensure that dogs have been let out for a bathroom break and quick exercise

  • Make sure cats, bunnies, or other pets have clean litter boxes

  • Fresh food and water should be provided

  • Shoes, cords, and other things your pet shouldn’t be into are placed safely out of their reach

  • Windows and doors that may give them access to restricted areas are closed

  • Necessary medications are administered

Keep an eye out for depression too. After a summer of constant play and companionship, it’s not unusual for your pet to be sad and a little lost once all the humans run off to do other things. Until your pet has an opportunity to adjust to the new family routine consider asking a friend to stop by and check on them or hiring a pet walker or pet nanny. Someone stopping by during the day can make sure their needs are being met and give them a little mid-day attention.


Make the most of the evening time and be patient. You may have had a full day of socializing but your pet hasn’t. Any hyperactivity or persistent demands for affection have to be understood from your pet’s point of view. After back-to-school homework and extracurricular activities pile up remember the importance of making your pet a priority. Those other things are important too, but a pet is a living responsibility. If you feel your lifestyle will prevent you from providing the love that’s needed, you should reconsider before getting a pet or taking on those extracurricular activities.


Remember parents, while the pet may belong to your child, as the adult you are ultimately responsible for making sure its needs are being met. Don’t make pets victims of the back-to-school frenzy!



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