Back-to-School Blues: Separation Anxiety in Pets
Many pets have spent the summer basking in the glow of endless attention and admiration from younger members of the family. Now that minds and bodies are beginning to prepare for the start of a new school year, your pet may wind up with a lot more time on their paws.
Separation anxiety in pets is common when routines change and family members are suddenly gone more often. Having a pet who’s out-of-sorts is no fun, but with a little patience and consistency (and help from your friends at Springbrook Animal Care Center), you can have your pet’s tail wagging again in no time.
Breaking it Down
Pets thrive on routine and attention from their owners. Even the most relaxed pet can develop separation anxiety in response to a sudden change in schedule or an increase in time spent alone. You may notice your pet seems lethargic, anxious, or even depressed. They may also exhibit other behaviors that aren’t normal for them, such as:
- Excessive barking, howling, or whining
- Loss of appetite
- Destructive chewing or scratching
- House soiling
- Extreme clinginess
Combating Separation Anxiety in Pets
Easing your pet into the new school year routine in advance is a great way to help them cope with a changing lifestyle. If possible, leave your pet home alone for increasingly longer periods of time in the days/weeks leading up to the start of school. Offer snuggles beforehand and a treat when you arrive home to help create a positive association.
Other ways to combat separation anxiety in pets include:
- Daily exercise – A daily run or play session in the morning and evening can reduce anxiety by burning off excess energy and hopefully making your pet sleepy for at least part of the day.
- Keep it calm – Pets can sense our emotions and may feed off them, so keep interactions calm when leaving or arriving home. This can help prevent your pet from getting too wound up during those times.
- A little company – If everyone in the family is regularly gone all day, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a friend or neighbor to stop by during the middle of the day to provide a walk or playtime. Doggy daycare is another great option for sociable pets.
For additional questions about separation anxiety in pets, please don’t hesitate to contact The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center.
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