Who can deny the power of a brand new box of crayons, backpack, or a blank notebook? Preparing to go back to school comes with a frenzied anticipation for everyone in the family. After the noise and fun of the summer, followed by the hustle and bustle of getting ready and off to school, your pet may wonder what to do with so much quiet time.

Patterns of anxiety or sadness can pervade even the most easy-going four-legged pal, but we’ll do our best to help your pet get through the back to school blues.

Constant Fun and Attention

If your kids were at home more during the summer months, your pet likely grew accustomed to a great deal of attention. Whether it was extra snuggling, playtime, or dodging sticky fingers, your pet may experience a form of separation anxiety at the onset of the upcoming school year.

This anxiety can manifest in an array of coping mechanisms, or a pet can end up lashing out. Your family pet may need some extra support if you notice any of these symptoms of the back to school blues:

  • Excessive barking, howling, whimpering, or whining
  • Destructive behavior
  • Indiscriminate soiling
  • Repetitive searching, sniffing, and looking out of windows
  • Lack of appetite
  • Noise sensitivity or panic
  • Clingy behavior after family returns
  • Cat scratching

Without the constant stimulation your pet grew used to this summer, he or she can turn to your furniture, kitchen garbage container, or other potential household dangers to stay occupied, resulting in the possible need for critical care.

Supporting Your Pet Through The Back To School Blues

To help your pet adjust to the family’s new routine, we recommend that you embrace the opportunity–and your pet–by showing love and affection just prior to your departure. This creates a positive association with your leaving and reassures your pet. It is best to start the new routine a couple of weeks in advance, especially if you know that your pet is likely to experience sadness, depression, or separation anxiety.

These tips and techniques can help your pet get through the back to school blues:

  • Give your pet a goodbye pat, hug, or rub down and express your affection and love
  • Take your pet to his or her favorite place in the house and leave your pet there to boost feelings of safety and security when you leave.
  • Offer a treat to create a positive connection with your leaving, and leave a mentally stimulating (and rewarding) toy behind, such as a Kong or cat toy.
  • Upon your return, spend some time exercising pet snuggling your pet and rewarding him or her for good behavior.

Please don’t punish or scold your pet for changes in behavior. Help him or her make the transition, and let us know if you need assistance to help your pet adjust.

Break On Through

If your pet doesn’t respond well to the transition, and your attempts to soothe your pet go nowhere, you may want to consider having a retired neighbor, friend or family member stop in for a short time each day to provide some attention. Reduce the time as your pet adjusts to the new schedule. Or consider signing your dog into our daycare for individualized attention, structured play, and stress-free routine.

Making The Grade

Your pet thrives inside a framework created by your family. Keep meal times and workouts at the same time every day, and consider obedience or agility training to keep your pet stimulated, lean, and content.

Helping your pet get through the back to school blues can be a feat, but with your compassion, patience, and dedication, your pet will undoubtedly thrive within your new routine. We hope you’ll call Union Lake Pet Services with any questions. Good luck beating those blues!