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Back to school tips for your four-legged companions By Beth Chamberlain

As family members head back to school, our routines can change and our schedules fill up. This may mean fewer walks, less play time and a change in feeding schedules too.

Sudden disruption to a pet’s routine can make even the most well-adjusted pet become anxious. This can result in undesirable behavior like house soiling, separation anxiety, destructive behavior, etc.

Help your pet transition into the season with these back to school pet tips:

  • Start doing the first potty call a bit earlier in the day, especially if the family has been sleeping in during summer break.
  • If a change in meal time is required, shift the time gradually.
  • A quick walk down the block or a quick enticement to chase the dangling toy can help your pet to get rid of some energy before you head out for the day.
  • Incorporate a special play time for your pet after school with a special toy reserved for this time only.
  • A stroll to the park in the early evening is a great way to spend time with your family and pet(s).
  • Leave the radio on, tuned in to a slow relaxing music for your pet during the day.
  • Add some surprises in the house for the pets to discover once you leave the house.
    • Stuff a Kong with some cheese spread and freeze it overnight (this way it will last longer) then hide the Kong.
    • For cats, fill a treat dispenser or treat puzzle.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise!  A well exercised pet is more likely to sleep than get into mischief. Adding at least 15 to 20 minutes of play and exercise to your pet’s routine can help chase away anxiousness and boredom.

Doggy day care is another great alternative for active dogs and could be just right for yours. Most dogs come home tired and happy, and isn’t that a good thing?

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