Pet separation anxiety solutionsKids aren’t the only ones who get the back-to-school-blues. Pets can also suffer the effects of a sudden change in routine, especially if they’ve been enjoying extra attention and playtime over the summer. Long days at home waiting for the family to return from school and work can lead to boredom and loneliness in pets. For some, this can actually lead to the much more serious issue of pet separation anxiety. Fortunately, the team at True Care Veterinary Hospital is here to help!

Spotting Pet Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in pets essentially amounts to an exaggerated fear of being separated from their owners. A few signs that your pet may be experiencing separation anxiety include clinginess, barking/yowling, escape attempts, house soiling, and destructive behavior. Lethargy, “moping,” and loss of appetite or interest in toys/people are also signs that your pet isn’t feeling well.

The Importance of Pet Exercise

A decrease in exercise is to be expected once the back-to-school schedule starts, but this lack of physical activity can have an adverse effect on pet separation anxiety. As your family adjusts to the new routine, be sure to make time each day to exercise and play with your pet. Morning and evening walks, a quick game of fetch or laser pointer, and even practicing obedience commands are all ways to burn off excess physical and mental energy. This also reinforces the bond you share with your pet.

Bit by Bit

In a perfect world, our pets would join us in all our daily activities. In reality, however, it’s up to us to make their time away from the family as stress-free as possible. Consider the following ideas to help your pet cope:

  • Help your dog or cat acclimate to any anticipated changes in their schedule ahead of time. Start their morning walk earlier, switch the noon playtime to an early evening frisbee toss, or leave them alone for slightly longer periods of time each day.
  • Remain calm each time you leave or arrive home. Pets take cues from their owners, and over-responding to their enthusiasm will only create more chaos.
  • Make sure your pet has fun things to do while you’re away. Food puzzles, a peanut butter-filled Kong, or a fun cat tree are all excellent ways to keep your pet busy.  
  • Some pets simply need interaction during the day. If this is the case, consider hiring a dog walker or enroll your pet in doggie daycare a few days a week to break up the monotony and provide company.
  • A little extra attention can go a long way during the transitional period. Extra snuggles, grooming, and kind words will keep a pet feeling like a valued member of the family.

Pet separation anxiety is a serious issue. If you’re concerned about your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at True Care Veterinary Hospital.