Summer is winding down, the mornings are getting a little cooler, and September is right around the corner. The back-to-school season is an exciting time full of new teachers, new friends, and new possibilities. It also means changes for your four-legged family members.

Changes to your pet’s daily schedule can cause abnormal behavior, new habits, and even depression. Getting your kids ready for school may already be a handful, but don’t forget to prepare your canine and feline family members as well!

Here are FIVE ways to help your pets transition into the fall season.

Utilize Mornings And Afternoons

Throughout the summer, your pet may have become accustomed to mid-day walks, lazy mornings on the couch, and play sessions at various times during the day. Now, they’ll have to get used to spending the majority of the day without access to their favorite people. Without adequate exercise, your pet can easily get bored. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviors, accidents in the home, and even weight gain. An easy way to combat boredom is to build an exercise routine around available time during the morning and afternoon.

dog walk in morning, Back-To-School Blues: 5 Ways To Prepare Your Pet For The Fall
Work in an extra 30-minutes of walking or find a nearby dog park to help your dog burn off stored energy. Spend 15-20 minutes before and after work playing with your cat to prevent boredom and protect your furniture from becoming scratching posts!

Adjusting your mornings may take some trial and error, but your pet will appreciate the effort and will have less energy to be bored throughout the day as a result!

Keep Them Busy

Keeping your pet mentally stimulated throughout the day is vital to keeping them happy. Adequate mental stimulation is necessary to keep your pet happy. Without it, your pet can develop bad habits, issues with stress, and anxiety.

Cat interactive puzzle toy, Back-To-School Blues: 5 Ways To Prepare Your Pet For The Fall
Interactive toys are a fantastic way to provide mental stimulation for your pets when they are home alone. Puzzle toys, activity mats, and heavy-duty chew toys stuffed with tasty rewards are all great options. Cats also love puzzle toys and are particularly fond of catnip toys as well!

Interactive toys are a great way to keep your pet busy during the day without requiring a person to be present!

Don’t Make A Fuss

Your pet is smarter than you think. You may think that tracking down your pet, giving extra kisses and pats, and making a big deal that you are leaving for the day will comfort them. In reality, this type of behavior could make them anxious. When the process becomes a daily occurrence, your pet will catch on to the repetition, and their anxiety may even compound with each similar experience.

Dog At Door, Back-To-School Blues: 5 Ways To Prepare Your Pet For The Fall

It may be difficult leaving home without giving your pet some extra love, but it will help them remain calm during the process. You may have to practice this with your kids and make sure to explain that the excitement may cause your pet to worry about what’s next. Make sure to enact the same level of calmness when returning home!

Access To The Outdoors

If your dog is used to ringing a bell, barking at the door, or sitting in front of you while you’re watching TV as a way to let you know they need to go out, it’s time to rework the process. While cats always have unlimited access to their bathroom, dogs require assistance. Start getting them into the routine of using the bathroom just before you leave for the day, and right when you get home. This will help avoid accidents indoors.

Dog, dogwatch hidden fence Back-To-School Blues: 5 Ways To Prepare Your Pet For The Fall

If running home during lunch isn’t an option, hiring a dog walker to provide bathroom breaks may be a good short-term solution. You can also consider installing a DogWatch® Hidden Fence and a pet door, so your pup can let themselves out when nature calls!

Get Them On Your New Schedule Ahead Of Time

Something you DO NOT want to do is spring your pet’s new schedule on them all at once. Doing so may cause immense amounts of stress, and they may even quickly develop separation anxiety as a result. Get your pet used to your fall schedule ahead of time by slowly transitioning them.

dog alarm clock, Back-To-School Blues: 5 Ways To Prepare Your Pet For The Fall
Start waking up earlier, get your pet used to new feeding times, implement early morning bathroom breaks, and simulate your morning routine of getting ready for school and work. When you finish “getting ready for the day”, leave the home for a few minutes.

When this process is done gradually over a week or two, your pet will have the chance to get used to the routine over time and will be significantly less stressed as a result.


Your pet is a member of your family, and they’ll have to adjust to the new routine just like everyone else in the home. Allowing your pet to ease into the new schedule, giving them access to their bathroom areas, giving them adequate physical and mental stimulation, and not making a big deal out of leaving and coming home are all easy ways to help them transition to a new schedule and avoid stress. A little effort goes a long way to keeping your pet physically and mentally healthy.