ANXIETY: BACK TO SCHOOL PET BLUES

Do you have a memory of your dog waiting patiently at the bus stop to greet you home? Did your cat pine away at the window waiting for you? Back to school time can be a huge transition for your pet. A summer of constant companionship, yummy dropped food pieces at the bar-B-que, popsicles with the kids on the porch….ahhh, sweet summer memories….these things can be hard for your pet to give up suddenly when the kids are back to school and you’re at work, the house gets lonely. Pet’s can be become stressed & depressed. You may see behavior changes (chewing, pottying in the house,etc) or physical manifestations (hairloss, diarrhea, etc). Always speak with your veterinarian about any changes in behavior or physical symptoms to rule out an underlying health issue. In the mean time, here are a few tips on how to beat those blues.
***It’s best to start any changes to you pet’s routine or diet slowly, incrementally. Begin your changes slowly a week or two before school starts.

***Make sure to properly exercise your pet. Both cats & dogs need exercise. They need to release pent up energy & relieve the prey drive. Properly exercised pets behave better & are happier.

***Hide a few small treats around the house for your pet to find throughout the day. Try Kong balls filled with treats, C.E.T. toothpaste or a LIMITED amount of peanut butter. They’ll spend the whole day occupied trying to get the treasure inside.

***Try hiring a dog walker or taking your pet to daycare. This will break up your pet’s day, provide exercise & socialization.

***Make returning no big deal. This is particularly important for dogs that have anxiety. If, every time you come back, you act as if you haven’t seen your dog for a year, your dog will feel as if he hasn’t seen you for a year. Best thing to do is act calm, quiet, casual, and don’t immediately greet your dog. If you act like it’s no big deal, then it won’t be a big deal.

***Be sure that when the family does get home & settled in, that they spend some quality evening time with your pet.

Make sure you transition slowly, keep them exercised, occupied and most importantly….loved.

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