Going back to school can be a little bit of a bummer for kids, but it also has an impact on family pets. In a survey of over 4,000 pet parents conducted by Petplan, 26% percent who had kids going back to school reported that their four-legged family member showed signs of separation anxiety when September began. So there is some evidence that losing a playmate/human sibling can in fact cause some stress in our pets. As your veterinarian, we hope to keep those blues at bay by offering some helpful tips for you and your family.
How to Tell If Your Pet is Stressed
Pet separation anxiety manifests in all kinds of ways, including eating less, acting clingy, vocalizing, having accidents in the house, and tearing up the furniture. However they behave, it’s important to contact our animal hospital and let us know about what’s going on. There’s a very good chance we can help!
Ways to Keep Your Pet Occupied
During back-to-school season, pets have to adjust to having more alone time and quiet time. To help them combat the doldrums that might ensue, we recommend:
- Making sure that your pet is getting essential exercise. 29% of the respondents to the Petplan survey reported that their pets spent less time outdoors when September arrives. Less energy spent on physical activity means more pent-up energy feeding into your pet’s anxiety. Try to make time in your busy day to get your pet moving and engaged in a mentally and physically stimulating activity.
- Help your pet get used to your departures and arrivals so they no longer seem like a big deal. As you practice, gradually increase the amount of time between your departures and returns.
- For the super busy, a pet sitter or doggie daycare might be the best option. They’ll get the interaction they need, and have the opportunity to engage in much-needed physical activity.
- Keep the TV or radio playing at home so your pet has some background noise. Consider DogTV for your pup, which is specifically designed to keep dogs occupied and more relaxed when they’re by themselves.
- Thundershirts aren’t just for thunderstorms and fireworks; they can help pets stay calm in all kinds of situations. The gentle, swaddling effect the Thundershirt creates can make a big difference.
If you have concerns about your pet’s separation anxiety while the family is away for the day, please contact our animal hospital at (623) 889-7090!