Back to School Blues

Back to School may be music to a parent’s ears, but it can be a tough adjustment for our pets who have become used to long summer days of constant entertainment while the kids are home. 

When pets get bored they can exhibit destructive, anti-social or anxious behaviors. Here are a few tips from our Community Training Coordinator, Shauna Romero, CPDT-KA, on creating a stimulating environment. Though toys can’t replace human contact and socialization, there are many things you can do to help keep your pets happy and entertained while the kids go back to school:

How to Curb Back to School Boredom for Your Pets:

Enrichment Items for Dogs

• Kongs/Buster Cubes:  Stuff toys with high-value treats, small amounts of cheese, dog food, etc. These can be made up ahead of time and put in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

• Hiding Food/Treats/Toys: You can hide treats and toys around the pet’s environment for them to find. 

• Postive-Reinforcement Training: Encouraging your dog to work and think for their treats is a fun activity for both you and your pet! 

Enrichment Items for Cats

• Window Perches:  Allow your cat access to a perch in front of a window so they can watch the outside world. 

• Bags/Decorated Boxes:  Cats are curious creatures and love exploring paper bags and boxes.  You can make boxes more interesting by attaching, pipe cleaners, cat toys, etc. Just be sure to cut off handles on bags to ensure your cats don’t get caught.

• Streamers/Ribbons:  Attach or hang strips to fans/vents. They can provide loads of entertainment for our feline friends. (Supervise cats when playing with streamers or ribbons to ensure they do not choke, swallow or get tangled in them.)

• Hiding/Quiet Napping Areas:  Cats also enjoy quiet time and need a place to hide and recharge. Cat trees and places for them to hide and relax are essential to a cat’s wellbeing. 

San Diego Humane Society’s certified trainers are always available! Call our Behavior Helpline for any behavior-related questions regarding your pet(s). Behavior Training Helpline: (619) 299-7012, ext. 2244.