Back To School And Work? The Ontario SPCA Offers Tips To Help Pets Cope With The Change

Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

With school right around the corner and many people returning to the office, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society offers tips to help your furry friends cope with the change.

Preparing for a return to work or school should include transitioning your animals back to regular routine in advance. Get them used to what their new walk or playtime schedule will be, when their meals will be served and get them used to spending more time independently.

On those days when your furry friend will be home alone, the Ontario SPCA offers these additional tips to help reduce their stress (and yours!):

  1. Look into dog walking services, doggy daycare or ask a friend or family member that your animals know to take them for a walk and/or check in on them.
  2. An extra-long walk in the morning, a game of fetch, or a quick training session may help tire out your dog. For cats, playtime with a wand toy or their favourite toy will help burn off extra energy.
  3. When you leave, put on soft music designed specifically to help calm dogs or cats. Did you know that many dogs enjoy reggae, and cats tend to prefer soft classical music?
  4. Place pheromone diffusers, available for both dogs and cats, around the house to help create a sense of calm.
  5. Consider a “doggy cam” or “pet cam” to check on your pet. Some even toss treats for added enrichment and positive reinforcement.
  6. Hide high value treats around the animal’s area to keep them distracted while you leave and make sure to leave the house calmly and quietly to not cause extra anxiety for your animal.
  7. Try having your dog or cat go to the same “place,” such as their bed, when you leave to get them into the daily routine. Make sure to have an abundance of treats in the “place” to reward the behaviour.

“As we return to more normal routines this fall, it will be a major adjustment for our furry friends and we need to support them through the change,” says Megan Holmes, Animal Behaviour Coordinator, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. “Remember that this is an adjustment for everyone! Stress can affect our animal friends, too, so be patient.”

For more tips and resources on animal health and well-being, including behaviour modification tips and enrichment ideas, visit the Ontario SPCA website at


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