Back To School Blues: Pets and Change

For some of us, school has started. The summer routine of day camps and small weekend getaways are over and your dog is again alone for 8 to 9 hours a day. With the hustle and bustle of getting kids ready for school your pup knows something is up and can sense the change of schedules.

Maybe you’ve noticed your dog is whining more, pacing, or staring at you with a slightly worried look.
This is normal. Just make sure your pup still has walks, play time, and plenty of pets.

Keep an eye on your pup for the following signs of loneliness and boredom:

Depression and anxiety – dogs experience these feelings and show signs of it by being listless, not eating as much, hiding, and not wanting to play. Some dogs show their anxiety in excessive barking, pawing at the doors, windows, and fences to get out, chewing on things they normally don’t touch, and being overly excited when you come home.

Relieve the chances of depression and anxiety

If this is your dog’s first time experiencing the kids going back to school, it will take some time for your dog to adjust. It is important to make sure your dog is given the time and attention needed to alleviate stress.

Morning – Exercise in the morning before everyone runs off to school and work can help your dog burn off some energy. After breakfast and a potty break, your dog may nap while everyone is gone. Meaning your house will be in one piece when you come home.

When it’s time to go – Try to not make a big deal of saying goodbye. A pat on the head and if you crate your dog, a simple, “see you later” will do. If your dog does have some anxiety, leaving a radio or tv on can help. Talk to your vet if your dog has extreme displays of anxiety and talk to a trainer or think about enrolling your pet in doggie daycare.

Home again – When you come home, walk in and put down your bags and take off your coat. Don’t make a big deal and baby talk your dog to death. You may even need to ignore your dog for a few minutes. Calmly greet your dog and take her/him out for a bathroom break and walk or romp in the yard.

After dinner – Once everyone has had their dinner, including your pup, it is time for another session of exercise. 20 minutes of playtime or a walk will help your dog burn off some energy and have time to bond with you.

Encourage the children to play everyday with the dog – between video games, homework, and friends, your kids need to be reminded that the dog also needs time with them. Try to get them to all play for a little bit when they come home with the dog. A game of fetch or tag with the family dog will make everyone happy.

It’s so easy to get caught up in things and our pets sometimes a little neglected. Of course we will never forget to feed them or clean up after them but we may forget to make the time needed to keep them happy as well as us. Having routines is important for us just like them.

Plus, the pet time when you aren’t dragged around between work, family, and other tasks can also be your “break.”

Good luck!

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