One of our clients recently found a diary hidden under a pile of toys belonging to her golden retriever, Buddy, and was shocked to see how her much-loved companion had been spending his days now that the kids were back in school and the house was empty. We want to share her discovery to remind you to keep your pet happy and safe during this chaotic time of year.
After a long summer full of picnics, hikes, and family time, this morning was a bit of a shock. You would think that after six years, I would remember that all summer breaks come to an end, but I was too busy having fun to think about that.
Well, end it did. This morning, at the crack of dawn, I was rudely awakened by alarm clocks, kids scrambling for backpacks, and a flurry of activity that abruptly ended with my family dashing out the door in different directions. As I watched them through the window, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, the carefree summer fun was ending; on the other hand, I had the house to myself. I ambled to my food bowl, only to find it empty. They had forgotten to feed me. In all of the back-to-school chaos, no one had thought about my breakfast. Hmph! With my stomach growling, I headed upstairs to choose a bed and settled in for a nap.
Yesterday’s nap was nice, but as the day stretched on, I got a little bored. Today, I needed to find some action. I got up early to ensure I wasn’t forgotten at breakfast time, and after flipping my bowl over for the third time, I was rewarded with some kibble and a pat on the head. After a short nap, I prowled around the house to see what I could find. I started in my human brother’s room, since I can usually find something interesting, and, boy, did I hit the jackpot. Sticking out of his soccer bag, I found a half-eaten chocolate bar and a box of raisins. I quickly ate the chocolate—I didn’t want to share with the cat—but only ate one raisin. It tasted weird.
I found some pencils and a nice, new pink eraser in my sister’s room. Chewing on pencils is so rewarding, despite a splinter or a poke from the lead once in a while. I chewed the eraser into little pieces, and ate most of them. It really didn’t taste good, but the rubbery texture was fun.
Today, I managed to slip out of the back gate in time to see the big, yellow school bus. I love chasing the bus. I ran as fast as I could, and almost caught it this time, but stopped when cars started honking at me. One swerved and almost hit me, so I ran home and snuck back into the yard.
My stomach didn’t feel so great today, and I had an accident (the bad kind) in the living room. The same thing happened the last time I ate something I found in the kids’ bedrooms, but it’s probably a coincidence—they eat chocolate all the time and don’t have accidents on the floor.
I’m a little sore after chasing the bus yesterday. It was worth it, but I think I’ll stick close to home today. I relaxed on the couch most of the day, except for when the cat stretched out and took up more than her half. She’s such a diva.
This afternoon, my family forgot to let me in before they rushed to soccer practice, so I had the backyard to myself for two whole hours. I sniffed out every nook and cranny, then went for the trash cans. Taking care to not tip the cans over, I chewed a small hole in the bag and found exactly what I was looking for—last night’s rib bones. I chewed every bit of meat and fat and licked every last drop of barbecue sauce. When I heard the car pull back into the driveway, I quickly buried the bones to eat later.
My family found the trash bag I chewed through and I think they suspect me, but they have no proof. But still, I laid low today. The weekend is almost here, and I want to ensure they include me in whatever fun they have planned. That’s OK—there’s always next week, and I still have those bones buried in the backyard.
Don’t Forget Pets in the Back-to-School Chaos
As you can see, Buddy had quite an eventful week, and his busy family is lucky his escapades didn’t land him in more trouble. Follow these tips to keep your furry friend safe and happy during new household routines, and all year long:
Ease into the new routine — Try to ease back into a school routine instead of abruptly changing your schedule. Gradually shift morning routines, mealtimes, and bedtimes to help everyone—people and pets—acclimate to the new schedule with less stress.
Designate a pet caretaker — If your pet tends to get forgotten at hectic times, designate one person to take care of him. If necessary, stick a note to the front door to ensure he gets fed and is safely inside your home before you leave.
Toxic foods for pets — Know which foods are toxic to pets, and keep them out of reach at all times. Warn kids of the dangers of leaving food out where pets can get into it.
Keep out of reach — Remind kids to keep items that can be chewed up or eaten out of reach. Backpacks, sports bags, and lunch boxes can contain items that are toxic to pets or that can cause problems if eaten.
Check the backyard — Pet-proof your backyard by keeping all trash cans out of reach—the garage is a better option—and ensuring your pet cannot slip out of loose gates or gaps in the fence.
Microchip your pet —Ensure your pet is microchipped and wears a collar with an identification tag, so if she does escape, neighbors or shelter workers can help you find her quickly.
Put our number on the refrigerator — Keep our contact information handy in case your pet gets into trouble and needs our help.
Back-to-school time is hectic for all families, but don’t forget your pet in all the chaos.