Back to School! How do changes in routines affect pets?

Back to School

It’s almost that time again where the kids are heading back to school, leaving the house empty all day. But that’s not completely true if you have a furry little friend at home who is going to be waiting for someone to return. When the back to school seasons comes around, you need to be thinking about how this change in routine is going to affect your pets.

You may notice that when you leave your pet alone, he or she may start to cry, chew things other than their toys or even try to escape the house. It is possible that your pet just needs to be trained a little more. However this behavior may also indicate distress, especially if your pet starts acting this way as you are preparing to leave the house. This may indicate that your pet is suffering from separation anxiety.

Signs Of A Problem

Some of the common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs will include:

  • Urinating/defecating
  • Barking/howling
  • Chewing of furniture 
  • Digging 
  • Trying to escape the house

They may target points in the houses like doors or windows and jump for them when they are left alone or when they think you are preparing to leave.

It is likely that during the summer stretch as well as for holidays throughout the year that your kids have been home for a large portion of the day with your pet and they have become used to this routine. Once it’s time for your kids to go back to school, this can trigger an emotional reaction in your pet, leading to separation anxiety. You need to keep this in mind when your kids are heading off to school. Separation anxiety in pets can be a serious problems but there are ways to help your pet so that they are not in so much distress.

What Should You Do?

The first thing that you should do if you notice any of these signs is to take your pet to come see us at Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic so that they can receive a check-up and the best possible veterinary care. This is so you can rule out any physical medical conditions, such as a urine infection, and make sure that your dog is healthy. If our veterinarians do not find any physical problem with your dog you should then make sure that it is not the result of boredom in the dog, scent marking or just general destructive chewing.

If there is no physical problem found by our veterinary team and none of the other reasons apply, it may be worth looking into consulting a veterinary behaviorist. A veterinary behaviorist is trained to help people who have problems with separation anxiety in pets. This type of veterinary care will help you by training your dog using methods such as desensitization and counterconditioning the dog into being left alone. These methods are used to make the process of leaving the dog alone less intense and make sure the dog is happy and relaxed when left alone. This way, you can ensure that your pet is not in distress every time you leave them alone in the house.

If you have concerns about separation anxiety in your pet, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via phone, 715-463-2536, or our website.

Photo Credit: alkir / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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