Back to School Blues

Author picture Celine  - updated: 14/01/2018

The lunches are packed, uniforms are ironed, shoes are polished and tied...everyone in the family is rushing around to get out the door on time for the first day of school, and it's hectic!

Think for a moment what your pet must be going through at this time - your dog or cat has had the luxury of a full house with plenty of walks and playtime. Maybe you went on holidays and had a pet sitter to stay, or perhaps your pet was lucky enough to spend extra time with you. The end of holiday time can be a rude shock!

Pets can often become stressed and lonely in these situations, and express separation anxiety by chewing, marking or scratching furniture. So what can we do to make life happier for everyone in your home?

1) Practice!

Some pets might get anxious when they see the school bag coming out or the school uniforms being put on - so have a few practice days where your kids wear their bags and try on their uniforms around the house but don't leave. Your pet will soon learn to relax around these objects! 

2) Avoid tearful goodbyes

Animals are extremely good at picking up on our body language and mood, and if we are stressed and make a big 'fuss' of a goodbye, it can work them up too. Avoid long emotional farewells and try to avoid rewarding stressed-out behaviour such as barking with more attention than necessary. 

3) Low level sound

The house was so noisy during the holidays that the quiet can be a little depressing...why not leave the TV on low, or a radio program with some talking and music? 

4) Burn that energy!

Your pet will be a LOT calmer when you're out if they have a chance to burn some energy when you're in! Your beloved pet is worth it - morning and afternoon walks and/or playtime is ideal but if a morning walk is too much to ask in the midst of getting ready for school, set up a routine where the kids go for a walk/run/play in the afternoon before homework and have a quick play in the morning. You can also arrange a dog-walker to fill in the gaps.

Another idea to burn some energy is with interactive toys. Hide treats around the house in spots where your pet can go 'hunting'. And cats can get a workout, scratch and stretch on a scratching post or in some cardboard boxes. You don't have to spend a fortune either - here is a blog we did on homemade dog toys, homemade cat toys and on homemade cat scratching posts.

5) Pawshake to the rescue!

If you are still worried about your pet being happy and calm during the first few weeks at school, why not book a Pawshake pet minder to come and visit during the day? They can pop by once or twice and play with your cat, or take your dog for a big walk. And you can have peace of mind that you're doing the best you can for your fur baby :-) Just head to and pop your neighbourhood in the search bar to find your perfect sitter.

What do you do to make life easier for your pet when the family goes back to school? Leave a comment below or visit our Facebook page.