Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

A sudden change of schedule can lead to stress in your dog, cat or other pet and can cause behavioral problems. Extra attention and/or a new friend may be the solution.

After a summer of playing ball, swimming, catching fireflies and getting lots of attention from his favorite boy or girl, your dog or cat may not be himself when the kids dash off on the first day of the new school year. The sudden disruption to your pet’s schedule and lack of special time with his favorite human may cause your pet to eat too much, not want to eat at all or start eating strange objects such as plants, dirt, toys or clothing. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea and skin problems to name a few.  Now is the PURRfect time for adults to give four-legged family members extra attention and even bone-up on your Pet First-Aid skills because no matter how hard you try…life happens and you can’t keep any of your family members in a plastic bubble!  If you would like to go back to school yourself, there are plenty learning opportunities from home to be found on this website:


Back-to-School Tips

Keeping a few things in mind may help the animals in your household adjust and stay safe:

1. When the school bell rings, don’t let pets head off to school too. A lonely pet may want to tag along. Keep your pet confined when children leave for school, and if you drive, don’t take the pets with you unless you are double dog sure they won’t be out of your sight the rest of each day. Animals learn quickly and may find their way to school on their own later, resulting in them becoming lost or injured. For severe separation anxiety, place the t-shirt your child slept in the night before in your pet’s bed — as long as he doesn’t rip it to shreds, it will make him feel like his boy or girl is there with him.

2. Now that mom or dad may be experiencing a little “empty nesting,” it’s a great time to spend extra quality time with the family pet. Embark on an exercise and training program for your dog. A tired dog is a good dog who will wait patiently for his “kids” to come home from school.  This is prime time to teach or refresh doggie obedience and kitty manners by getting involved in an exercise and training program – yes, cats too can learn new tricks!

3. Love and attention is a bow wow wondeRUFFul thing, but when training is done for the day and you need a little time to yourself, you won’t want Fido or Fluffy acting like a velcro pet, sticking to your side every second of the day.  Interest dogs in interactive toys to entertain themselves.  Toys filled with treats, tennis ball launchers and chicken scented bubble machines are just a few novelties on the market.   For cats there are electronic mice, bungee cord and laser light toys.  Just know your pet and supervise him for safety’s sake.  Don’t believe labels claiming any products are indestructible!  Where there’s a will…there’s a way!

4. If your cat is seeming bored with the kids away…consider adopting a second cat to keep her company.  This can work for dogs as well.  They will play and exercise together and you will have saved a life but take time to do proper introductions and supervise pets until you are sure they are getting along nicely.

5.  When the learning, training practice and play is done for the day, curl up with the whole family and read “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” and the sequel “Start Off on the Right Paw” together.  It will instill great love and respect for animals in kids 0-99 and will remind adults of the important messages as well that transcend beyond our animal friends.  Stay tune for the sequel, coming late Fall/early Winter 2018 – it will introduce “Haiku,” a couple new male characters and a very special kitty cat again sharing the importance of not judging a book, animal or person by its cover!

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover by Denise FleckDon't Judge a Book By Its Cover by Denise FleckStart Off on the Right PawStart Off on the Right Paw

Dogs and cats are part of the family too,

so make sure you focus extra attention on them when their world has suddenly turned upside down.

Watch my VLOG at