As summer winds down and kids head back to school, many families experience a dramatic shift in their daily routines.
For some pets, this sudden change in routine can impact their overall wellbeing. A recent survey by the IAMS™ brand unveiled that 73% of pet parents see at least one form of unfavorable behavior in their pets when their kids go back to school, and more than one in three pet parents say their pet gains weight when the school year starts.
Just in time for National Back to School Prep Day, the IAMS brand, proudly part of the Mars family of brands, shares expert tips and tricks for making sure the changes in back-to-school routines don’t derail a pet’s overall health and wellness. At a time when the focus is on getting kids back to school, it can be easy to forget that this has the potential to abruptly shift a pet’s routine that can cause unintended health and/or behavioral issues. Surprisingly, more than one in three pet parents1 don’t think about preparing their pets for the change in routine when school is back in session.
“The back-to-school season is an adjustment period for the whole family, including our pets,” said Fawad Farrukh, Vice President of IAMS Brand Marketing for Mars Petcare North America. “Because IAMS is on a mission to go further to keep pets healthy for life, we want to equip pet parents to smooth this transition time for their pets.”
The IAMS brand partnered with Dr. Laura Robinson, DVM, and pet behavior consultant for Mars Petcare, Jessa Paschke, to understand what key actions pet parents can take to help ease the transition from summer to school season that can help keep your pet’s health and well-being in check, including:
- Map out a new routine and stay consistent with enforcing new habits each day throughout the transition, and throughout the school year.
- If leaving your pet alone for longer periods of time, start off slowly. This builds confidence in your pet and helps keep them at ease with this change.
- Harness the power of distraction – give them a special treat or toy that they love (and keeps their brain stimulated) ONLY when leaving them alone.
- Ensure their energy needs are being met. Consider waking up early or taking them for evening walks to help avoid stress. Doggy day care or dog walkers are good options as well.
- Avoid overfeeding – if your pet is getting less playtime or exercise when the kids are away, consider checking feeding guidelines on their food or decreasing their caloric intake so they don’t gain weight.
- Use a WHISTLE™ smart device to track your dog’s activity levels, behavior and food/water intake when you’re not at home to use data-driven insights to uncover habits you might not notice.
- Use PETconnect by IAMS™, a free wellness and nutritional chat service available on IAMS.com to get real-time answers from a Licensed Vet Technician or a Nutrition Advisor. This service is available to answer pet questions, provide advice and support during pet parents anytime.
To learn more about how the IAMS brand is helping calm the back-to-school blues for your pets, visit IAMS.com/backtoschool.