It’s Back to School and back to routine! Remember that during the summer, your children and the family pets develop a strong bond. Now there’s suddenly an empty and quiet house. This change in routine can cause your pet to suffer from separation anxiety or depression as they , like many parents, adapt to the empty nest.
Your dog may experience the effects of the loss of extra playtime and companionship by exhibiting the following behaviours:
•Ripping the stuffing out of pillows
•Obsessive barking/whining for extended periods of time
or general depression
Separation anxiety is a serious condition that can be managed with structure and patience. NEVER punish your dog for exhibiting this behavior, as it will make him more fearful and potentially aggressive. Instead, consider these positive approaches to helping your pet deal with the back to school blues.
•Start with leaving your dog at home for very short periods of time to get him used to being alone
•Avoid emotional departures and greetings
•Have your belongings prepared so that your departure from home is calm
•Consider doggie daycare or a dog walker for your pet
•Teach the kids to avoid over stimulating the pets with departures and arrivals
•Exercising your dog before leaving the house in the morning is a good idea so he’ll be relaxed when you return and be set for when you’re away.
•Leave some sturdy, interactive toys for your pets to help keep them from being bored.
Be sure to check with your veterinarian to have your dog or cat fully evaluated and correctly diagnosed before trying to manage the symptoms. There may be an underlying medical condition that may be misconstrued as separation anxiety.
And finally, give your pet the most love and attention you can. Reassurance through regular walks, exercise, playtime and grooming will help your companion make a much smoother “back to school” transition.