Preventing Pet Separation Anxiety Due to the Back to School Blues
Pets and kids alike dread the days of going to school. Just as kids have to readjust to a more rigorous schedule, pets, too, have to readjust to change in their routine. Dogs especially, as social creatures, can have a hard time with the sudden loss of their best friends all day. Cats, too, can develop problems with a dramatic change in schedule. At our animal hospital, we’ve developed some tips to help keep those back to school blues at bay to help with pet separation anxiety!
Tips for Easing Separation Anxiety
- Leave them with a food puzzle or a special toy that they can enjoy only when they are alone. This will help create a positive association with being left alone.
- Keeping the radio or TV on when you’re away can help ease pet separation anxiety, too, since the sound of human voices calm your pet’s fears of being alone.
- Making leaving and greeting low-key. Give a simple goodbye, and when you come back, ignore your pet for the first few minutes until they’ve calmed down, then pet them.
- Create play and exercise times around your schedule. Take a walk in the morning and/or have a play session in the evening so your pet gets plenty of stimulation.
Recognize the Signs of Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can be a difficult disorder to diagnose—because it only happens when you’re not around! Additionally, some of the signs can also be symptoms of medical conditions, so it’s important to talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s behavior. Signs to look for include:
- Destruction, such as signs of clawing at doors or windows
- Obsessive chewing (maybe of shoes, pillows, furniture, etc.)
- Howling, barking, or whining when you’re away (your neighbors will be sure to report this to you!)
- Urinating, defecating, or vomiting in the home
If you notice one or more of these signs in your pet, talk to your veterinarian! We’ll help you develop a plan involving behavior modification and possible anti-anxiety medication for severe cases. In you have questions, please contact our animal hospital at (520) 722-2771.