06 Sep 10

Back to School & your pet ...

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Back to School & your pet

So it’s that time of year again, for some parents the most wonderful time of year when kids head back to school.  But maybe this summer you got a new puppy, kitten or “Hammy” the Hampster, which will no longer get full time love and attention from your children.  Pets can feel depressed and sad when a routine they have become accustomed to suddenly changes.  Parents also want to make sure with schedule changes and extra curricular activities, that your children who begged you for a pet don’t forget their responsibilities.

A few tips to help keep the household running smoothly, pets happy, kids on their busy schedules are:

  • Have a child care chart posted for each pet, and each child so they know what day they have responsibility for what pet.
  • Hire a pet sitter or dog walker, but don’t tell your child! You don’t want them to slack off knowing the dog may have already been walked that day or hamster or bird cage might have been cleaned earlier.
  • Set aside play time each day for your pet.  In other words, make sure your children know at this particular time of the day the pet gets training time, play time, or walked with your kids.  Otherwise neglected pets, especially dogs that were doing great with training i.e. not chewing, or no longer having accidents in the house, may revert to doing so due to lack of attention, not spite.
  • Have a family meeting so everyone is on the same page as to what their pet care responsibilities are.
  • Set a schedule.  Try to keep the pets schedule as much as possible the same as it was over the summer, feeding, walking, etc.  Making some adjustments, earlier wake up time, feeding time, etc. and the pet will quickly grow accustomed to the new schedule if it is done on a consistent basis by all family members.
  • Meet with a dog trainer if your dog starts acting out once their is less attention on them.

A responsible, caring and dedicated owner is not that hard to be today.  We are lucky in this day and age there are so many professional pet sitters and pet experts available, pet knowledge at our fingertips, free courses and more, for families to learn about responsibilities of being a pet parent.  Being a pet parent, whether the pet is a family pet or an individual child’s responsibility should be taken seriously and not frivolously. Most children find the experience very rewarding, loving and caring for another living being.  Make the back to school transition easy for all family members, two-legged and four-legged ones easy – have a family meeting tonight!

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