With the long summer holidays finally drawing to a close, kids across the country are getting ready to dig out that school uniform and head back to the classroom.
Though many parents may feel relieved to have a bit of peace and quiet, household pets may become confused by the sudden loss of playmates.
To help your pets readjust to a quieter life, here are some tips for ensuring that your cats and dogs stay happy and healthy when the kids go back to school.
Start getting them used to a quiet house before the holidays end
Though they may not outwardly show it,cats can become lonely when left in a suddenly quiet house. They may seem a little distressed and do things they normally wouldn’t like refuse to use a litter box or eat less than usual. You may first want to visit the RSPCA cat advice page to make sure there is no physical cause for changes in behaviour.
If it is purely a psychological reaction, you can help comfort your cat in your absence by employing distraction tactics such as stimulating videos, catnip toys and treats, and familiar music to remind them of busier times.
Dogs may more outwardly show their anxiety by whining and crying when you leave. Make sure to walk them before you go, which will reduce their anxiety and keep their feel-good endorphins flowing.
To help get your family pet used to less stimulation, try easing them into a quieter life by leaving them alone for short periods in the run up to the new term.
Try starting with 10-20 minutes and building up to an hour or two, you can reassure your pet that they won’t be abandoned.
Don’t make a fuss when you leave or return to the house
When you leave or return home, try to avoid showering your pets with attention straight away and instead wait a little while to call them over and say hello.
Pets can associate things like the jingling of keys or bags by the door with your leaving so try to make as little commotion as possible to minimise anxiety and upset.
By gently and gradually easing the transition between a full, noisy household to a quiet, calm one you can help your pets get used to life without the kids around, ensuring that when term does start again, your cats and dogs will take the transition even better than you do.