Pets and the New School Year

image of school accessories for humans next to accessories for pets

Unleashing a Smooth Back-to-School Transition for Your Furry Friends

Ah, the sweet symphony of summer is drawing to an end. The laughter of kids running around, the sizzle of barbecues, the joyous chaos that fills the air—all of it is about to take a back seat as school bells ring in a new chapter. As the little humans gather their books and bid farewell to endless playdates, the four-legged members of the family are left to ponder, “What’s up with this sudden quiet?”

If your household resembles a sitcom set, with kids running in all directions and a dog trying to keep up like a furry referee, the shift from summer to school might leave your loyal companions feeling a bit lost. Turns out, they’re not alone in their sentiment. A recent survey by the IAMS™ brand revealed that 73% of pet parents observe some form of peculiar behavior in their furry friends when their human counterparts head back to school. And in a truly relatable twist, over a third of pets are apparently gaining the “back-to-school weight,” a phenomenon not exclusive to parents fretting over holiday indulgences.

But fear not, fellow pet parents, for help is at hand, courtesy of none other than the IAMS™ brand. Yes, you heard that right—the pet food legends are stepping in with a collection of insights and tips that could save you from your pets staging a protest outside the nearest school.

Dr. Laura Robinson, DVM, and Jessa Paschke, the pet behavior guru at Mars Petcare, have teamed up to uncover the secrets of a smooth transition from summer to school season, without your furry companion throwing a temper tantrum. Here are some of their nuggets of wisdom, sprinkled with a dash of  humor:

1. New Routine, New You (And Your Pet)

Just like your kids need a schedule to tackle algebra, your pets can benefit from a structured routine too. Think of it as a little black-and-white film starring your dog or cat—breakfast, walkies, nap time, snack time, and so on. Stick to it, and you might find your pet more punctual than the school bus.

2. Slow and Steady Solo Time

If you’re suddenly leaving your fur baby alone for longer stretches, start small. It’s like introducing your pets to their very own “me-time.” A gradual increase in solo time helps build their confidence, transforming them into the independent scholars you always knew they could be.

3. The Distraction Dynamo

Leave your house with the flair of a magician—a disappearing act accompanied by a special treat or toy. This exclusive item only surfaces when you leave, distracting your pets and keeping their minds occupied. Who knows, maybe they’ll start auditioning for America’s Got Talent while you’re away.

4. Energy Expense and More Walkies

Dogs, in particular, thrive on activity. To keep those stress levels in check, consider setting your alarm clock a tad earlier or embarking on twilight walks. Doggy daycare and dog walkers also make for excellent options, potentially leading to your pet having a more active social life than you.

5. Battle the Bulge (for Pets, of Course)

Let’s face it, the back-to-school season might lead to a decrease in playtime. So, if your furry friend’s calorie consumption doesn’t correspondingly drop, you might end up with a pleasantly plump pet. Check those feeding guidelines, cut the calories, and ensure your pet doesn’t end up needing a new wardrobe come winter.

6. Sherlock Holmes Meets Pet Care

Ever wondered what your pet gets up to when you’re not home? Enter the WHISTLE™ smart device, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes for your pet’s activities. Track their behavior, food, and water intake, and find out if they’re moonlighting as a lounge pianist in your absence.

7. The Virtual Vet Visit

We’ve all been there—frantically googling “Why is my cat meowing like a broken siren?” Well, fret no more. Introducing PETconnect by IAMS™, a virtual wellness and nutritional chat service. Real-time answers from a Licensed Vet Technician or a Nutrition Advisor will have you navigating pet mysteries with the finesse of a seasoned detective.

As we gear up for the inevitable backpacks, textbooks, and an avalanche of lunchboxes, let’s not forget the ones who patiently sat through the summer antics. And while we may roll our eyes at the absurdity of “back-to-school blues,” our furry friends might just understand it more than we know. So, here’s to smooth transitions, wagging tails, and happy pets—all thanks to the wisdom of IAMS™ and the humor of life.

For more on how the IAMS™ brand is making pet-parenting a little saner during back-to-school madness, check out And hey, why not follow their adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok? Because pets can have a social life too, you know!

In the end, it’s not just about preventing pet pounds or unraveling the mysteries of feline behavior—it’s about ensuring our furry sidekicks get the love, attention, and structured chaos they so richly deserve. And if that means a little extra effort and a touch of IAMS™ magic, then consider it an investment in a semester of tail-wagging joy.