How to Prepare Your Dog for Back-to-School Time

If your children are back in school this month, your dog might be feeling a little lonely and have some trouble adjusting to a quieter household (unless they embrace the silence—in which case, we get it!)

Here are some ways to help your dog through this social transition.

  • Make dental care a family habit. Have your kids give the dog a WHIMZEES dental chew before they brush their teeth for school. Everyone will start the day with healthier teeth, gums, and fresh breath.
  • Prioritize exercise and activity. We get that school mornings are busy and can be stressful. If there’s time—or you can schedule it—make sure your dog gets exercise in the morning before everyone leaves for the day. That could be a walk, playing in the backyard, or playing with toys at home in the morning. Remember, exercise is good for your dog’s physical and mental health.
  • Start a cuddle tradition. You’re probably giving your kids hugs and kisses before they leave for school. Add in one more family member! Have the children hug the dog goodbye before they depart in the morning. Those fluffy cuddles are beneficial for the dog and the children!
  • Consider enrolling them in doggy daycare. If your dog needs a lot of attention and has to get energy out throughout the day, this could be a good option if you can afford it. “This is my top suggestion for your dog when the family is gone most of the day,” says Dr. Danielle Bernal, our resident veterinarian at Wellness Pet Company.
  • Walk your dog to the bus stop. He or she will love the exercise, fresh air, and opportunity to spend more time with their favorite humans. “Most kids appreciate a friendly fur face to start their day,” says Dr. Danielle. “Just make sure the dog is well trained around other kids.”
  • Invest in a dog camera. If you’re back at work and the kids are gone too, you might want to get a dog camera that allows you to talk to your pooch throughout the day.
  • Get some new toys that will keep them entertained. It works with kids and can help keep dogs busy, too! If everyone leaves the house in the morning, make sure you have some toys that will keep your dog busy while they are at home—like a puzzle toy or tough chew toy they can gnaw on throughout the day.  “I find these work best when the dog has more time on their own and hence are looking for entertainment options for themselves,” says Dr. Danielle.
  • Take them for a stroll before dinner. It’s easy to get sidetracked with homework and activities. Make sure the dog gets exercise and playtime later in the day as well. If your children are old enough (and strong enough) you could have dog-walking be one of their responsibilities.
  • Give your dog an occupy chew. Are you and the kids busy with homework after dinner? Stock up on WHIMZEES® by Wellness® antlers and share one with your pup to keep them engaged next to you while you’re concentrating on other tasks. Never leave a dog alone with a dental chew and always make sure they have access to plenty of water.
  • Practice reading skills with your pup. Have your child practice their reading skills aloud to the dog when they come home from school or before bed. Your dog will be a great, patient listener and enjoy the time spent together with the kids.

Bottom line? Acknowledge that your dog might be feeling a little lonely and out of sorts as the school year gets underway. Make a conscious effort to give her or him more attention, cuddles, praise, and exercise when you can. Everyone will benefit!