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Back to School: It Can Be Hard For Your Pets Too

Aug 22, 2017



Back to School season might not just be hard for your kids – it may also be difficult for your pets. Kids and pets bond strongly over the summer months during long days with plenty of playtime. Just like most humans, pets are creatures of habit and very social, and the sudden shock of being left home alone again once school starts up may cause depression, stress, and anxiety in your pet.


While some animals cope with the changes and loneliness better than others, many will exhibit some form of separation anxiety, including behaviors such as:

  • Howling and/or barking
  • Chewing inappropriate items
  • House soiling
  • Trying to get out of the house or yard
  • Digging
  • Lethargy
  • Hyperactivity
  • Change in appetite

Cats are less prone to separation anxiety than dogs but can still suffer symptoms such as a change in mood, upset stomach, withdrawing, and meowing loudly.

COVE_CatWindow.jpegHow to Help

Here are several additional tips for keeping your pets calm and well adjusted throughout this time of change.

  • Take dogs on long walks or runs in the morning to tire them out with plenty of exercise. Play with your cat for 10 min before leaving for the same reasons.
  • Don’t make a big deal about leaving or coming home. Emotional departures or greetings can over stimulate your pet.
  • Give your pet a very special treat that they only get when you leave.
  • Provide distractions for dogs with treats such as stuffed Kongs or treat dispensers to help with mental stimulation. Give cats a window perch with a view of wildlife or a birdhouse.
  • When you are at home, make sure you and the kids are including your pets in family activities so they feel a part of things.
  • Even a day or two of doggy day care during the week can be beneficial for a lonely dog.
  • Bring another pet into your home so your furry family member has a friend to play with all day!

Kidswithpuppy.pngIf your pet is still showing signs of separation anxiety after trying these suggestions, visit your family veterinarian to ensure it doesn’t have an underlying medical cause. If your pet is healthy, an anti-anxiety medication might be helpful.  

Back to School time is stressful for everyone, but with a little extra effort your pets can calmly and comfortably adjust to the transition. 

Category: Pet Health Tips