The back to school rush has begun and for most of us has already seen our children back to school and ourselves back to work. Shorter days at home and busy school and work schedules can often change our routines greatly even if we don’t intend for them to. This change often leaves our pets confused. Instead of having you to interact with for most of the day their time with you has shortened and can leave them wondering why as our daily tasks have us walking out the door without them.

Our pets begin to learn our routines and many of them such as dogs and cats are creatures of habit and do best when there is a clear schedule or routine in place, so any alterations to this can cause them some anxiety and stress. To avoid your pet feeling anxious or stressed as you go back to work and the kids go back to school below are some tips to help them adjust to the changes in the routine;


Not all of us have the ability to ease our pets back into our daily routines, but wherever possible this is recommended strongly as it lessens the impact on our pets when we go back to work and school. Approximately a week before you are set to head back to school or work start to spend time without your pet. Get them used to your absence again. Start getting up earlier and leaving your dog either outside or inside where they normally wait for you to return from the school drop off. This doesn’t need to be for a long period of time, thirty minutes is enough to simulate the school run. Also start getting out school bags, lunch boxes and anything else that your pet may associate with leaving for school in the morning. The same method can be applied to your return to work. Start gathering out items that your pet will associate with you going to work, start leaving them alone gradually for longer hours in the middle of the day also.


Get the whole family involved with the transition back to the school and work schedule by sharing jobs and responsibilities associated with your pet;

–       Take your dog out to the toilet or check/change the cats litter tray the same time every morning before school.

–       Short play time before leaving, this should be done as close to the same time every morning with your pet before leaving for the day to help enrich their environment.

–       Their meal should be fed at the same time each day this applies to both the morning and evening.

–       Walk at approximately the same time every day if you have a dog.

–       When the children get home from school encourage them to go outside and interact with your dog/or interact indoors with your cat for approximately thirty minutes when they get home before starting home work or chores to allow your pet to settle.

–       Quiet family time in the evening when you are home from work. Setting aside some family time for you all to be around each other and your pet.

Creating a routine from day to day outside of your holiday routine can help your pet deal with the changes they are experiencing easier.


Environmental enrichment is something that all pets should receive from a young age. Ensuring that there is plenty of stimulating and interactive toys and experiences available to them throughout the day that don’t necessarily involve you playing tug of wear or chase the mouse.

–       Leave out food-oriented puzzles

–       Hide some of your pet’s favourite treats around the yard or in their cat run for them to explore and find throughout the day.

–       Long lasting chewable/scratch toys that will keep your pet occupied for hours while you are away.