The holidays have come to a close and that time of the year is here again. The exciting back to school rush has got everyone getting ready for a season filled with numerous activities. As the children pick out their school bags, parents are busy filling up their calendar pages with a ton of extra-curricular activities. While everyone else in the house is looking forward to the baseball games, band practice and school plays, Buster, the family dog is left to deal with the back-to-school blues alone.
Often, we leave out our furry friends amidst all these activities. Suddenly, time for exercise, playing and bonding with the pooch reduces. It becomes difficult for our furry companions, especially if they are attached to the family. Dogs are loyal and affectionate to their families, and they love the attention they get from you. These sudden changes in their daily routine may cause lots of stress for them.
When Buster is stressed out, he may adopt some behavioral issues that will affect both the family and him. Behavior such as soiling indoors, clawing or chewing the furniture, and excessive barking is not only annoying but can also have some serious health ramifications on the dog. The health issues associated with back-to-school blues include depression, overeating, and loss of appetite. When depression sets in, it weakens your dog’s immune system and puts them at the risk of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
Like us, our furry friends can cope with life changes, but the change has to be introduced gradually. Better yet, the end of the holidays doesn’t mean the end of fun and activity in your dog’s life. Here are 5 ways to keep your dog active and help them cope with the fact that everyone else has left the house.
1. Get a Dog Toy
Instead of leaving your dog in boredom and frustration, you can get them a dog toy to keep them engaged while the rest of the family is away. A dog toy like Kong will keep Buster distracted and deterred from thinking about being alone. However, you should know that providing your dog with a toy isn’t as easy as leaving them with anything provided it fits in their mouth. There are different chew types, formulation, and sizes of dog toys and they are contingent on the age, breed, chewing style, and weight of the pet.
If your dog is in between sizes, it is more prudent to get the larger chew size. If they are a strong chewer, pose a challenge for them by getting a larger chew toy. You can also increase the fun by stuffing a Kong with treats, hiding kibble around his playing area for him to find, or setting up puzzle toys to provide your pet with some entertainment and mental stimulation at the same time.
2. School For Buster Too
Let your furry friend share the excitement of going back to school. Make your dog feel that they will be just as busy as you this season by enrolling them in a training school or a doggie daycare. There are so many benefits associated with taking your pooch to school that if you think about it, it is worth the expense.
Should your busy schedule mean an end to Fido’s social life? Let your dog meet and make new friends at a nearby doggie daycare. A day of supervised play and exercise will keep him happy and healthy. It stands to reason that you should inspect the facility before leaving your furry friend.
Training is another good way to keep him active mentally and physically. It benefits the dog, their family, and the community as a whole. He gets to learn rules and restraint which makes him more fun to be around, meaning he gets to spend more time with loving family members.
3. Hire a Pet Sitter
Hiring a sitter for your loyal friend is not easy, but when you get the right person for the job, the benefits are immense for both of you. A dog sitter will ensure that your buddy is comfortable and happy when you and the kids leave for work and school respectively. If you were in the habit of giving Fido a lunchtime snack during the holidays, a pet sitter would ensure that he gets it.
With a pet sitter, your dog doesn’t need to be confined indoors. They can play together in the backyard or even go for long walks. Let your pet sitter know the daily routine you and your dog are used to, and they can do it together. Sure, it won’t be the same for Fido since the two of you have a firm bond, but still, he will appreciate and benefit a lot from the time at the park and the long walks.
4. Bring Your Dog Whenever Possible
Dogs are social animals, and their biggest desire in life is to be with their “pack.” Thus, whenever you can, it is always a good idea to let your four-legged family member tag along. Unless his behavior is unfriendly to the public, there is no reason to leave him at home alone. Keep your dog involved and happy by bringing him to football practice or for those after-school visits to the park. It is commendable to always check in advance if a facility allows dogs to avoid surprises. Again, bringing a chew toy and a water dish will ensure that your dog’s needs are met even if you stay longer.
5. Create Time for Pup
One way to make sure that your dog does not get separation anxiety is by having and maintaining a strict routine. Your dog is an important aspect of your family, and it is in everyone’s best interests that he stays balanced. Thus, although your day is busy from morning till evening, you should create some time to cater for his exercise needs. You can do this by going for walks or jogs early in the morning before embarking on your business or later in the evening. You can also teach your kids some easy games like hide and seek or fetch and encourage them to play with Fido as soon as they get home. This will help the dog stay active and get over the daytime boredom. Playing with your dog when you get home will also make them feel more appreciated.
Our dogs will always remain loyal to us no matter what; it is a challenge that you remain loyal to them as well. Since we will always work out a way to strike a balance between work and family, let’s not leave out our dogs who are a vital part of our families.
About the Author:
June is the founder of TobysBone, where she shares her passion for writing and love for dogs. She wants to help you deal with your dog’s behavior issues, grooming and health needs, and proper training. Through her blog, you can find informative and reliable posts, tips and tricks, and a lot of interesting reads that will help you maintain a close bond with your furry companion.