Category Archives: kids and pets

Back to School for Kids and Pets

By Linda Cole

Once again, summer vacation is coming to an end for millions of kids around the country. Hopefully, pets were able to spend quality time with their little humans, but like all good things, summer vacation is over and children are off to another year of school. Suddenly, pets are left with nothing to do and boredom can set in. When kids go back to school, what’s a bored pet to do with all the extra time they now have?

Parents are usually the only ones happy to see summer vacation end as kids prepare for their first day of class, a year older and hopefully wiser. Pets, on the other hand, have no idea what’s going on. The first day of school is a flurry of activity as parents pry kids out of bed, which is way too early after a summer of sleeping in. Parents and kids rush out the door so everyone can get where they need to go on time. The house is quiet and the poor pet is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen, alone and confused. Where did everyone go?

Pets don’t do well with sudden changes in their routine, and that’s exactly what back to school means for them. Routines make them feel safe and comfortable. This is the time of year when pets can become confused, depressed or exhibit signs of separation anxiety when the routine they grew accustomed to all summer suddenly changes. Pets get used to certain things happening at a certain time, or close to it, each day. Once school starts, watch your pet for signs of boredom or separation anxiety. This can become a problem when a dog or cat who is used to having someone around most of the day is left on their own to figure out how to entertain themselves.

Sit down with your kids and talk to them about responsible pet ownership. This is a good time to remind them their four legged friends need attention from them after school. Pets don’t require a lot of our time, and spending an extra fifteen minutes in the morning before school exercising the dog will help him get through the day until everyone is back home in the afternoon. A walk or playtime in the backyard after school will reassure a pet they haven’t been forgotten.

Cats don’t usually tear up furniture or leave claw marks on the front door, but even they can experience separation anxiety when it’s time for kids to go back to school. Pets don’t understand why the summer routine they grew accustomed to has suddenly changed, and bored pets can be destructive. Separation anxiety can turn into a serious behavioral problem if it’s not dealt with. Establishing a new routine that includes all members of the family will help kids learn more responsibility in the care of their dog or cat, and help pets deal with their time home alone once they know what to expect before and after school.

Since a pet’s routine will change when the kids head back to school, now is the perfect time to help ease them into a new schedule before they’re left on their own. Start by having your kids give the dog or cat extra attention in the morning. Go for a walk, play tug a war or wiggle a toy for the cat. Once a pet realizes someone will return home to give them attention at a certain time, they have something to look forward to that can help them pass the hours. They may still be bored, but once a pet learns the new schedule, they’re willing to wait for the kids get home from school.

Ask your kids to think of games or activities they can do with their pet to help them adjust to a new routine. Have the kids help put out toys for pets to entertain themselves with while everyone’s gone. Hide treats around the house to give a bored pet something stimulating to do. Fill treat toys for dogs to chew on. If your dog stays in a crate when everyone’s gone, start now and give him time to gradually adjust to spending more time in his crate.

Back to school means a new routine for the entire household and everyone needs to adjust, but it doesn’t have to be upsetting for pets. With a plan in place and your kids help after school, pets can adjust to a new schedule knowing they haven’t been forgotten. They can still spend time with the ones they love. It’s just at a different time of the day.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How to Help Kids Learn Responsible Pet Ownership


By Tamara L. Waters

Becoming a responsible pet owner is something kids can learn early on. Helping your children learn how to care for pets responsibly and lovingly is easy enough to do, and more important than you might realize. Responsible pet care can also teach a number of life lessons to kids that will lead to them becoming responsible adults in many aspects of their lives. Here are a few tips on helping your kids learn these valuable lessons.

Feeding and Watering Chores

Children can take an active role in pet ownership by becoming part of a pet’s daily care. Adding the feeding and watering of a pet to a child’s daily chore list helps them develop a routine while taking part in the pet’s care.

At my house, the kids are not allowed to put off the feeding and watering of the pets until they feel like it, or find time. When they get up in the morning, feeding the cats is the first thing they are expected to do and of course, our kitties remind them of this. The two oldest children rotate this task: one feeds the indoor cats and the other feeds the outdoor cats. The next day, the roles switch.

Exercise and Playtime

Setting aside regular time to exercise and play with pets isn’t difficult and actually, it’s fun. Most kids will love this part and making it fun can help them to see that pets should not be ignored – they should be part of the family. Just like children enjoy running and playing and having a good time, so do the pets.

When you take the dog for a walk, let the kids go along. This can be an opportunity to teach the kids proper dog walking techniques and help them establish a pattern that they will follow when they are older and have pets of their own.

Allow Kids to Be Part of Simple Decisions

Part of learning responsible pet ownership is taking ownership. Kids can do this by taking ownership of some of the simple decisions regarding the pet. Examples of simple decisions could be: the pet’s name, pet toys, accessories (leash, collar, dog house, cat condo, food dishes) or pet food.

Allow children to help by doing research on pet care online. Let them check out books at the library about pets so they can read for themselves about proper care. Give the kids tasks that allow them to take an active role and ownership in the pet. The more they feel part of and valued in the decision-making, the more they will want to participate.

Taking the kids to routine veterinary appointments is also a great way to allow them to be part of decisions. When our cat has been sick, the kids will help remind me when it’s time to give her medicine.

Cleaning and Maintenance

This is not a favorite part of pet care, but it is necessary. Learning about proper cleaning and maintenance for pets is a must. Whether it is scooping and changing the litter boxes or scooping the doggy doo, kids can take part.

In my home, my children are expected to clean up any messes their cats make. If the cat pukes up a hairball or knocks a glass over, the kids are expected to help clean up after them. Not only do they learn that Mom isn’t the only one capable of cleaning up the messes, but they learn that Boo is their cat and therefore it is their responsibility to clean up after him. This is a good lesson to learn for life in general, not just for dealing with pets.

Teach your kids early on that being a pet owner requires responsibility in addition to love. They can begin learning these lessons at a young age and continue throughout their lifetime. Caring for a pet can help prepare them for their future as a responsible adult and they – along with your pets – will thank you for it.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.