Aug 23 2012

Back To School – Our Pets Feel It Too!

Those bright yellow vehicles are back on the road again. Commonly known as school buses, they whisk our young ones off for a day of learning. The house, that was once full of noise and laugher, is now quiet. One thing that never changes is the affection and attention that our pets crave. While we may become preoccupied with our busier schedules, we must remember that our pets still need us.

With the kids out of the house, take advantage of the opportunity to give some extra special attention to your pets. Perhaps take your dog for a walk after the kids board the bus or comb those stubborn mats out of your Maine Coon’s coat. Consider working on some obedience lessons with younger animals while everyone else is gone and there are fewer distractions.

When the kids return, encourage them to incorporate their pet’s care into their after school schedules. Taking your dog to your kids’ outdoor sports games is a great way to get some much needed fresh air and exercise for both two-legged and four-legged family members. Make your children responsible for feeding the family cat each evening and covering the bird’s cage at night.

Pay special attention to your pets when older children leave home for college. Some pets may become depressed or anxious when a family member moves away. Try to maintain the schedule that your pet is used to. Adding more exercise or playtime into their lives may help to reduce depression and anxiety.

The fall season is a transition period for most families. As younger children spend most of the day at school and our older sons and daughters leave home, our pets remain for us to enjoy throughout the year—Happy Autumn!

Dr. Downing has been a general practitioner and emergency veterinarian at the Valley Cottage Animal Hospital since 2005. As a co-owner of the hospital, Dr. Downing oversees the emergency side of the practice. Dr. Jessica Downing grew up in upstate New York. She completed her veterinary education at the New York State Veterinary College at Cornell University and was awarded her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2004. Dr. Downing’s professional interests include emergency medicine, ultrasonography and surgery.

By: Jessica E. Downing, DVM

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