Friday, August 23, 2013

Prepare Your Dog for Back-to-School


Help the Dog Adjust to The Family's New Routine

Once again, we're in the midst of madness with parents just about everywhere in high gear getting kids ready for back to school. During this hectic and busy time it's easy to overlook one small (but important) detail as the new school year begins: Preparing your dog for the big changes in your family's routine that loom just ahead.

Dexter, our Family Dog

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As a dog lover, I consider this little guy, our miniature doberman pinscher, a member of the family. I'm also aware that canines are indeed pack animals, creatures of habit and thrive on a regular schedule. 

So, from personal experience I know back-to-school chaos can be a time of huge adjustments not only for my four teenagers, hubbie and myself, but also for our beloved pup. In fact, our dog loves our kids and I know he's going to miss all the hustle and bustle around here when everyone heads back to campus and the house falls quiet this coming Monday.

It's turns out countless other families will be confronting that same dynamic. Dogs, like people, are sensitive when their surroundings change drastically. Unfortunately, a radical break in a dog's routine can trigger some unpleasant side effects like depression, destructive behaviors and/or barking, whining or howling. 

My girls & Dexter Modeling at The Grove

Kerri Marshall, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion pet insurance, has some helpful ideas for keeping your dog happy during this annual family season of mega transitions.

Tips to Ease Fido Into a Change in Family Pace

  • Prepare your pooch for all the changes by starting to implement the school year routine several weeks before the first day of school while the kids are still home 
  • Have the whole family leave the house for increasingly longer periods of time so your dog can get used to the lack of daytime activity around your home
  • Keep feeding and walking times constant throughout every season of the year so that when it's back to school time, your dog will experience fewer abrupt changes
  • Make sure to continue to pay attention to and play with your dog as well as take him to the park when the kids are back in school -- or you might consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your pup in doggie daycare
  • Invest in educational dog toys as enrichment tools that will keep your four-legged friend entertained for longer periods of time -- things like puzzle toys that encourage your dog to look for hidden treats can keep him happy and busy
Dexter enjoys a bone with a hidden treat

FTC Disclosure: Content for this post sourced from Dr. Kerri Marshall of Trupanion. Post contains affiliate links. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.