Summer is prime time for your pets. Children are home from school and are available to give their pets lots of loving attention. There are more hours of daylight so families often stay up longer and go outdoors for some exercise and play. Of course, your pets are usually along for the ride—and they love it.
However, once school doors reopen, all that changes. While families return to their work-and-school routines, their pets often return to hours of boredom, restlessness and even loneliness. An empty house is no fun for most pets—in fact, some pets get depressed and others develop separation anxiety. Here’s what to watch for in your dog or cat and what you can do to make the transition less stressful:
SIGNS OF SEPARATION ANXIETY:
- Not eating or drinking while alone
- Clinging to your side while at home
- Waiting outside closed doors for you (usually whining)
- Howling and whining
- Digging and scratching
- Chewing on furniture or belongings
- Inappropriate elimination (only occurs when your pet is home alone)
- Attempting to escape
Although these issues may be more common to dogs than to cats, it doesn’t mean cats are immune to missing you! Similar mood changes may still happen to cats during the early school season. That being said, what can a good pet owner do to alleviate these issues?
Tire out your pet with play or training
Before the kids leave for school, let them play fetch or go for a run. This can help your dog get rid of those nervous jitters. This is also a ton of fun and can help ease the boredom of the day. Use a special occasion toy that she only sees during this time to give her something extra special to look forward to.
Cats should receive at least 30 to 45 minutes of active play, daily. Help your kitty sleep soundly with a play session before school.
Treat Your Pet to a Little Going Away Gift
While your dog or cat may never be thrilled about alone time, you can get their minds off your departure and recondition them by providing your pet with a high-value treat. Once they associate the family leaving with that special treat that they enjoy, they won’t be so afraid or anxious once you go.
Downplay Your Kids’ Departure
When getting the kids ready, try to downplay their departure. While you shouldn’t ignore your cat or dog, you don’t need to make a big to-do about going. This can increase anxiety in dogs and bring more attention to the change in routine.
Just go about getting ready and leaving. Acknowledge your pet but stay calm while putting out their treats. Pets thrive on a routine, and transitioning them smoothly is the key to getting them used to the new routine.
Hire a Pet Nanny to Break Up the Day
If your kids’ return to school means your pets will be left alone in an empty house, you may want to find a person who will pop in to give them a bit of loving. Many dogs love visitors. And almost all dogs love walks. Cats are a bit more variable, as some won’t appreciate a stranger coming to their territory, while others will positively jump into a new friend’s arms.
The key here is knowing your pet. If appropriate, a good pet nanny will give you the reassurance that your pet isn’t just moping at home waiting for your return and will give your pet a bit of exercise and attention.
Our Pet Nannies at Pet Nanny Inc are ready and waiting to help you and your pet adjust to the back-to-school blues. Follow us on our social media accounts or give us a call at 734-981-6108. Alternatively, you can use our on-line contact form and we’ll get in touch with you!