Back to school time is always filled with a flurry of activity. You are busy making sure everything is ready for your kids to get back to school. From buying everything on that seemingly endless school supply list to purchasing clothes, shoes and backpacks, those final days of summer break often seem to fly by.
You are likely thrilled that you’ll have those hours of peace during the day or you will get to see your daycare bill drop dramatically, But, there is one member of your family that might be left feeling more down than your children – your pet.
Pets and Summer Break
It really is a tossup whether your furry friends or your children are more excited when summer break starts. The kids are just happy they can sleep in a bit and not have to worry about spending hours sitting at a desk, But, your dogs and cats are excited that their family members are suddenly available all day every day for their enjoyment.
They don’t have to go hours at a time without a pet or scratch, they have someone available to play with them whenever the moods strikes. For some dogs, they finally get to spend a considerable amount of time outdoors as they explore with their two-legged friend. All of these are major benefits for your pooch and kitty. However, all that fun and companionship can have a serious impact when summer break ends – separation anxiety.
Pets and Separation Anxiety
Just as people can become down or stressed when they are separated from loved ones, pets can experience the same things. While it’s always easy to see and understand why people become sad, many forget that their animals can suffer through the same emotions. Pets just don’t have the voice to explain what they’re feeling.
When a pet experiences back to school anxiety, it often comes with a variety of behaviors. Some pets may become destructive and start ripping out upholstery, attacking shoes and chewing on everything in sight. Other pets might start soiling indoors, even if they’ve never had a prior issue with this behavior. Others might commence with never-ending barking and whining. You might also discover that your dog or cat suddenly loses his or her appetite. This can be because their anxiety levels are just too high to make eating possible.
When these behaviors happen, separation anxiety is often the cause. Your pet is anxious because his or her best friend suddenly isn’t available to give and receive attention. While these behaviors are unwanted, it’s important that you don’t start adding punishments on top of the already overwhelming situation your pet is in at the moment. Instead, you need to focus on managing the back to school anxiety your pet is having.
Managing Pet Back to School Anxiety
Obviously, you want your pets to feel comfortable when they are suddenly left at home alone for several hours each day. Especially if there has been someone around all summer long. There are a few things that can help keep your pet feeling a little better about all that alone time.
Making sure to give your pet plenty of exercise before everyone heads out the door is always a great way to get rid of some of that pent up energy during the day. Whether it’s a walk or playtime, exercise is one of the most important ways to combat pet back to school anxiety.
If exercise doesn’t help, or your pet is highly susceptible to anxiety, you may need to consider alternatives. Anti-anxiety medications to help your dog or cat cope – especially if the behavior is severe.