Kids are back in school. Adults are busy with packing lunches, attending football games, and running errands. But what about your four-legged family member? When it comes to changes in a household’s schedule, it can be more difficult on pets.

Some animals go with the flow of the house and changes do not affect them, while others are more sensitive and can suffer mentally and physically. In addition to making an appointment with your veterinarian (if you see unusual behavior changes), here are some ways you can help your fur baby adjust to new schedules this fall.

Make Gradual Changes in Small Increments

If possible, ease your pet into a new schedule. If an adult will be at the office or attending school events for longer hours, start having that person away from the home a few more hours at a time so your dog or cat can adjust. This is especially important for fur babies that struggle with separation anxiety.

Switch up Play Times and Make Them Longer

Playtime is essential for pets – both cats and dogs. If your pooch is used to getting a long walk in the morning and it will be moved to evenings in the near future, start planning now. Add in evening walks and games of fetch while weaning out morning playtimes. When the schedule change is in place, plan to take longer walks and make additional time for cuddles, kisses, and hugs.

Ease Stress and Boredom with New Toys

 Few things in life make a pet happier than a new toy mouse to chase or a squeaky toy to wrestle and shake. Leave new toys and enrichment games designed for your pet around the house on a regular basis. These items will help occupy their minds and bodies while their family is away from home. You might even want to check out some of the new interactive technologies that allow you to communicate with your pet from afar and even provide treats.

Be Wary of the Backseat

Even though pet families never do it intentionally, when life gets busy, fur babies may sometimes take a backseat. Always remember that dogs and cats that feel neglected can develop behavioral issues such as destroying items in the house, taking potty breaks where they shouldn’t, and becoming withdrawn and stressed. Make sure that all members of the family devote time each day to their pet. It will help the family too!

Ask for Professional Help

Remember that Westfield Veterinary Group is always here to help you and your furry companion if you need us. If your pet begins to display behavioral issues, contact either our Westfield or Union location immediately for an appointment. Our compassionate veterinarians will rule out any underlying health concerns and will help you develop a plan to return your four-legged family member (and you!) to a happy, healthy lifestyle.