Article By:Jan Jeremias, MSc., DTM, RYT, CR, CSO
Contributing Writer

The back-to-school season can be a challenging time for everyone including us, our children and our pets. After a summer filled with companionship and playtime, the sudden shift to a quieter household can leave pets feeling confused and anxious. Your home may feel
very different to your pet, now that you are back to working longer hours and or the kids are back to school or heading off to college As a responsible pet parent or caretaker, there are several proactive steps you can take to help your furry companions adjust to the new
routine now that September is here.

Gradual Transition:
While it’s ideal to prepare your pets before school starts, it’s never too
late to make adjustments. Begin by gradually implementing the new
routine. Adjust feeding times, walks, and play sessions to align with
the schedule that will be followed during school days. Also, depending
on the weather where you live you may be adjusting to changing
temperatures. For example, during the summer I tend to take Tonka
for a long walk in the morning and avoid the hot, sunny afternoons.
During the fall and winter we take longer walks in the afternoons as
the temperatures are warmer and avoid the colder mornings.

Routine Consistency:
Pets thrive on routine, so maintain a consistent daily schedule.
Regular feeding times, walks, and play periods can provide a sense of
security for your pets, helping them anticipate what comes next. A lack
of routine can make your pet more anxious.

Morning Simulation:
Replicate the school-day morning routine even after school has
started. Put on your shoes, grab your bag, and perform other
departure activities without actually leaving. This helps your pets
become accustomed to these cues without experiencing the anxiety of
your departure. I even keep to this routine on the weekends to
decrease unnecessary stress.

Dedicated Comfort Space:
Create a safe and comfortable space for your pets to retreat to when
they feel stressed. This could be an area in your home or a dog crate.
Fill this area with familiar items like their bed, toys, and a piece of
clothing that carries your scent. Diffusing calming oils like Lavender,
Roman Chamomile or Cedarwood can created a calming space for
your pet.

Interactive Toys and Enrichment:
To combat boredom and keep your pets engaged, provide interactive
toys and puzzles. These toys challenge their minds and keep them
occupied during periods of solitude. Playing and engaging with these
types of toys can also make your pet feel tired. Toys that dispense
treats are a wonderful tool as your pet is busy and gets a reward at
the same time. Remember “A tired pet is one that will get in less

Positive Departures and Arrivals:
When you leave and return, keep your interactions calm and positive.
As hard as it is to do, avoid creating a dramatic entrance or exit, as
this can exacerbate separation anxiety. This is a challenging one for
me as I am super excited to see Tonka at the end of a long day.
However I try to monitor my exuberance. A calm demeanor reassures
your pets that everything is alright and that they are safe.

Physical and Mental Stimulation:
Devote quality time to exercise and mental stimulation when you’re
home. Engaging in play, walks, and training sessions not only keeps
your pets physically active but also strengthens your bond with them.
This expenditure of energy an connection can help to nurture a
healthy bond between you and your pet.

Gradual Alone Time:
If your pets are struggling with being alone, gradually increase the
time they spend by themselves. Start with short intervals and work
your way up. This approach minimizes distress and builds their
tolerance over time.

Positive Reinforcement:
Reward your pets for good behavior when you come back home. This
reinforces the idea that your return is a positive event and that you will
come home.

Seek Professional Help:
If your pets are exhibiting severe signs of anxiety, consider seeking
advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They can provide
personalized strategies to address your pets’ specific needs.

As school picks up momentum, it’s crucial to remember that your pets
need time to adapt to the changes in the household routine. By
following these practical steps, you can help your beloved companions
settle into the new routine with less stress and anxiety. Patience,
understanding, and a willingness to tailor these strategies to your pets’
personalities will go a long way in ensuring a smooth transition for
everyone involved and a Happy Household.
Have a great September!
Jan and Tonka

By Published On: August 31, 2023Categories: Pet Corner
Jan Jeremias, MSc., DTM, RYT, CR, CSO is a clinical research scientist, and expert in the usage of essential oils. Jan is a wellness counselor for people and pets and is the co-author of the top selling aromatherapy book SpOIL Your Pet: A Practical Guide to Using Essential Oils in Dogs and Cats. Jan is also an energy and Reiki practitioner for Pets. She also has a podcast: “Pets, People life and Longevity”. For more information or to schedule a session, contact Jan at 917-865-2155 or You can Shop Jan's items at Doterra: at Visit Jan's website at

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