Parenting

6 Tips to Prepare Your Pet For Your Kids Going to College

Just because you're going through empty nest syndrome, doesn't mean that your pet has to.
Photograph via iStock.

1. Plan a few over-nights away for the college student over the summer so the pet becomes accustomed to her absence.

2. Animals’ sense of smell is stronger than ours. Ask your teen to sleep in a few T-shirts he no longer wants so you can toss them into the pet’s bed after he’s gone.

3. Deploy plenty of the pet’s favorite items and activities after the student leaves, says veter-inarian E. Kathryn Meyer, such as “new and interesting toys, more walks, longer walks, and walks in new areas.”

4. Consider enroll-ing dogs in a training class to give them something new to look forward to.

5. Some people FaceTime with their pets. While it’s comforting for humans, says vet Katy Nelson of News Channel 8’s The Pet Show With Dr. Katy, animals don’t understand visuals on the screen. They do, however, often seem to enjoy hearing their person’s voice.

6. If the pet seems exception-ally stressed by the student’s absence, talk to your vet about antianxiety medications.

This article appears in our June 2016 issue of Washingtonian.