Each year in September, our lives shift. We trade in summertime adventures and late nights for school days, workdays, and our normal routine.

ROUTINE. Some of us enjoy it, while others dread it.

What about your pets? If there is anything the last year and a half or so has taught us (okay, it’s taught us a lot of things, but we’ll save that for another blog post), it’s that adapting to change can be hard.

If you are worried about how your pet will react to their change in routine, we have a few tips for you:

  1. Keep up with the new routine, even on “off” days. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice sleeping in on the weekends! But even on your “off” days, follow along with what your normal routine would look like when you do get out of bed. If breakfast is usually first, do breakfast first. If your pet usually keeps busy with a peanut butter filled kong, don’t deprive them of that just because you are home. Keeping some loose semblance of regularity even on days when you plan to stay home can bring your pet comfort and make the days when you will be away a bit easier.
  2. Exercise can help to clear the mind. Have you ever heard someone say that they exercise more for the sake of their mental health than their physical? It’s a real thing. Exercise can work wonders for your pet’s mental state too. A tired dog is, in fact, a happier dog. Make time to exercise your pet physically before heading off to work or school, and you’ll ensure they are in a better state of mind to be left at home during the day.
  3. Schedule some QT with your pet. We make time in our lives for family dinners, outdoor activities, and so much more… but are you forgetting to schedule some quality time with your pets? Put it on the calendar! Sometimes, our pets need the reassurance that their cute fluffy butts still rule our lives. No need for dinner reservations at the hottest spot in SoCal. You can do this by including your pet in movie night with some extra couch snuggles, bringing them outside to play with the kids in the backyard, or having them assist with math homework (five treats for Fluffy minus two equals…).
  4. Give them projects while you’re away. Your pet has the whole house to herself while you are at work or school, and you are worried she may redecorate (destroy?) some furniture while you are gone. This is the time to leave out some enticing distractions! Offering treat puzzles, leaving behind Kongs filled with their favorite yummies, or hiding bits of their food throughout the house for their own personal scavenger hunt are just a few ways to create a diversion. Not only will they appreciate the snacks, but the mission itself is exercise for their brain.

As your handy-dandy local veterinary clinic (we’re looking at you, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido, and Fallbrook), we are always open to chatting more about your pets struggles when being left alone at home. Give us a call!