back to school for pets

Back to school: Get your pets ready for a change in family routine!

As the days start to draw in and summer feels like it’s slipping from our grasp, that familiar “back to school” feeling can creep up on us, a mixture of nerves and excitement that can make us feel thirteen again! But even if your school days have long since passed, it’s inevitable that the arrival of autumn will shake up our routines, and these changes can be unsettling for our pets. But we’re here to ease you into the autumn term, so follow our top tips to help your four-legged friends settle seamlessly into the new season!


Tip 1: Build up time alone

If your work takes you away from home, or you have children that are returning to school, your pet can find an empty house a shock to the system after a summer of family fun! We’ve put together some pointers to help make the transition a little easier!

  • Start  with short periods of time away from your pet and build up slowly. Popping out for 10 minutes or so, on a regular basis, will give them lots of opportunities to learn that it isn’t a big deal when you leave, and that you always come home again!
  • Tempting though it is to make a big fuss of your pet when you’re heading out the door, and upon you return, this can make your absence seem like a big deal, so try and avoid dramatic exits or grand entrances!
  • A toy or treat to distract your pet when you’re getting ready to leave is a great idea, and helps them focus on something other than your imminent departure!
  • Consider leaving the radio on for company while you’re out.
  • Pet-safe treats that your pet needs to ‘work’ for (e.g. treats hidden in kongs or puzzle mats)  can help keep them entertained in your absence, giving their brain a workout in the process!

back to school for pets

Most pets are quite happy to spend some time alone, and many even relish the opportunity to catch up on some uninterrupted sleep! When it comes to our canine pals, though, some struggle more than others. If you find that your dog is barking or whining, destructively chewing, or toileting in the house when you’re out, they may be suffering from separation anxiety, which can be distressing for both of you. If this sounds like your pooch, you may need some extra support, your vet will be able to give you more advice. 

Tip 2: Make time for exercise

Impromptu strolls in the sunshine might be in short supply once summer has passed, but a daily walk (or more than one if you can fit it in!) is so important, even on those drizzliest of days! Not only is your dog more likely to sleep the morning away after a good run, they’re also (hopefully!) less likely to find other outlets for their energy, like chewing your favourite shoes for instance! Our pets are creatures of habit, and once they’ve learnt what times of day they can expect a walk, they tend to relax in between times, knowing the next outing will be coming along shortly!

If you can involve  your pet in your own routine, then even better! School runs, a lunchtime stroll, or an evening jog can be a great chance to spend a bit of extra time with your pooch. If your feline friend has access to the great outdoors, they naturally have more agency over their time, but scheduling in some play sessions is another great way to stretch those paws!

back to school for pets


Tip 3: Get back on board with parasite treatment

Making the most of the beach and barbecue weather and taking a break from our usual routines can do us the world of good during the summer months. This can mean, though, that parasite treatment gets forgotten, so getting our pets back on track this September will help protect them on their autumn adventures!

It’s a myth that fleas  are just a summer problem; these annoying insects can thrive in all seasons thanks to our centrally-heated homes. Fleas bite your pets to feed on their blood, and infest your home! Worms are a year-round problem too, dogs and cats can pick up these wriggling creatures from eating worm eggs from the soil, from hunting or eating under cooked meat, or even from swallowing those pesky fleas! Worms live in our pets’ guts, stealing their food and potentially affecting their health. And ticks are yet another pest to look out for; autumn can see a resurgence in the numbers of these blood-sucking beasties, especially when the weather is warm and wet. 

Helping protect our pets from these creatures is really important, and thankfully, easy to do! Fipnil Plus is an easy-to-apply spot-on treatment, that kills both fleas and ticks, and can be used monthly on both cats and dogs, to give ongoing protection. Ridaworm tablets for cats and Ridaworm Plus tablets for dogs kill every type of intestinal worm commonly affecting UK cats and dogs, and used every 3 months help combat these common pests.   Learn more about these products here.

back to school for pets


Tip 4: Schedule in one-on-one time

As school and work get back into full swing, and our to-do lists get increasingly longer, keeping up with all the demands on our time can be a challenge, to put it mildly! But making sure we find the time to interact with our pets on a daily basis is not only important for their well being, it’s great for ours too! This might be playing tug of war, or fetch in the garden. Or maybe your dog loves hide and seek, or your cat loves playing ‘chase the mouse’ (we’re sure that that’s its official name!). You could even pamper your pet with a grooming session; brushing their coats can increase those feel-good vibes, and is a great way for you to give your pet a quick check-over too, making sure they haven’t picked up any pesky parasites on their travels!

Even simply inviting your four-legged friend to hop up next to you on the sofa while you watch TV can be enough to re-connect after a day apart. Spending regular quality time with your pet will strengthen your bond and make sure your pet knows that, whatever else you have going on, you always have time for them, too.

back to school for pets


Tip 5: Recruit some outside help!

And remember, you don’t have to do it all alone! There are many pet professionals who would love to play a part in caring for your four-legged friend, you just need to find the right fit for your pet and your lifestyle.

If your job takes you away from home during the day, then a professional dog walker  may be just the thing you’re after! Most dog walkers offer both group and individual walks, depending on what best suits your pooch. The Dogs Trust have some great advice on what to consider if you’re thinking about getting a dog walker.

back to school for pets

Doggy Day Care can be another great option for some pets, giving them a chance to socialise with other dogs, spend time outside, and generally get some extra TLC! Some even offer a dog-sitting service, which can be especially useful for older pets, who may not be up to a long walk, but still benefit from some friendly company

The transition from lazy summer days to the realities of the autumn term can be challenging for all of us! But our pets love a good routine, and by building up to changes gradually and keeping their needs in mind, we can banish the back-to-school blues, and settle our pets into the new season in no time!