Back to School Blues and Pets

For many families, the summer months seem to end just as quickly as they begin and before you know it, everyone is preparing to head back-to-school. But your kids aren’t the only family members who can get the back-to-school blues. In fact, it’s highly likely that your furry family members will struggle with the big changes that happen in your home as the kids head back to school.

As everyone in your home heads back into their normal routine away from home, your pets could be left to deal with separation anxiety. When some pets are suddenly left alone after a summer full of activity, they can experience a great deal of boredom, stress and even sadness. Additionally, they may begin to act out and cause trouble around the house or begin to harm themselves if their separation anxiety isn’t addressed properly. Luckily, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can help to relieve your pet’s worries and make a smooth transition back into school for everyone in your family.

Play when you can. When you (and the kids) are home, give your dog plenty of attention and playtime. Go on long walks. Throw the ball. Take the dog swimming. Do the type of bonding – as well as energy release – that your dog enjoys when you have the time to do so: mornings, evenings and weekends.

Give toys and games. If your dog enjoys puzzle balls, chew toys, or even watching TV, leave these items out (or hide them if your dog likes scavenger hunts) so your dog has something fun to do while you’re gone. This is especially important for dogs who are big chewers; leave them something to chew, or the dog may chew up other items in the house.

Consider a dog walker. If you and the kids are gone all day, you may need to hire someone to check on your dog. Many dogs can’t last all day without a bathroom break, and many dogs need long mid-day walks to behave better. A daily dog-walker will get your dogs the exercise, stimulation and social time they crave.

The return to normal life, while wonderful, is still an adjustment for us all. Through each stage, it’s important to remember that these times of transition are also hard on dogs. They miss their playmates and the normal rhythms of family life. Try to be patient with your pup, add some fun, and be flexible as the entire family adjusts to the new school year.