Back to School Tips for Pet Parents

Pumpkin spiced foods are already hitting the shelves at your grocery store signaling the end of summer is near. Many parents are happily looking forward to the little ones heading back to school, but don’t be surprised if Fido isn’t too happy about it. Many pets go through a bit of separation anxiety when the kids go back to school, a once full house is now an empty house. Your furry friend was enjoying all the extra attention and summer fun, so this time of year isn’t easy for a pooch. To help ease the stress a little we have some tips to help with the transition.   First things first though, what is separation anxiety?   Separation anxiety is defined as a dog behavior problem that shows itself through symptoms like excessive salivation, barking, whining, destroying items in the home, scratching at walls, doors and floors, and attempting to escape from the crate, or room.   What causes it?   A change in a dog’s routines can create the symptoms of dog separation anxiety, but remember destruction and stress can also be created by boredom and lack of exercise.   5 tips to ease the stress:   Prepare your dog for the new routine. Just like your kids your dog has become accustomed to the care free summer living, late nights and no real schedules to adhere to, and just like the kids they need to ease back into a routine. Create a routine for your dog as well, specific times for feedings, walks and play time.   Slowly prepare for separation. Prepare your dog to be home alone by starting a few weeks early before school starts. Go out on longer errands, take the family out for a movie - The whole idea is to ease your dog’s fear of you not returning. The more you go out and come back they will start to get use to it.   Toys. Sometimes it’s not separation anxiety that causes destruction, but boredom. Interactive toys like puzzle games for pets can be a life saver for keeping your dog’s mind occupied. Toys that are fun and provide a mental workout for your pet might prevent them from chewing their way through the couch the next time they get bored.   Exercise your pet. Daily exercise can reduce boredom and behavioral issues by burning off nervous energy. So be sure to schedule time in the morning before everyone leaves the house, and then once again when everyone is back home, to take your dog for a walk or have little play time in the backyard.   Dog’s safe place. Dogs need to have their own “home,” a place where they always feel secure and comfortable. If your dog doesn’t already have a place of his own, create one for him. It could be a crate, a dog house, whatever you choose as long as it is meant for your dog only. Having a place of their own helps ease stress too.   Hope these tips were helpful! If you have any of your own tips please share them with us in the comments below.