Bob the family dog has been going through some separation anxiety recently. The family was gone for a few hours for a family reunion one afternoon this summer, and although another family member was doggy-sitting, Grandma says she has noticed him behaving more anxiously since then. He also hasn’t been able to spend as much time with his buddy Roxy, so he’s missing her too.
Separation anxiety in dogs is very common, and it increases this time of year. Did you know that the back-to-school season is actually a big cause of stress for pets? After spending all summer playing with the kids, suddenly the family dog or cat finds themselves in a much emptier house come Fall.
Luckily, Purina Vet Dr. Kurt Venator is here to help! MomStart recently got to participate in a Google Hangout with Dr. Venator where he shared 5 tips for helping your furry friends adjust to a new back-to-school routine:
5 Tips to Address Separation Anxiety in Pets
1. Get Your Pet Into a Routine
Just like kids have to adjust to a new schedule after school starts, so do your pets. Help them feel secure by establishing a routine they can rely on – try to make a specific time each day where you stop to play with your pet, and keep to a consistent schedule.
2. Burn Off Some Energy
If your pet expresses their anxiety by becoming destructive, help them channel some of that energy more constructively. If you own a dog, try taking them for a walk every morning, and if you have a cat, try playing with them using balls or other cat toys.
3. Create an Interactive Environment
Get your pet an interactive toy to keep them occupied while the kids are at school. Chew toys are a great pick for dogs, while cats love scratching posts or other kitty furniture.
4. Turn up The Tunes & Start With Baby Steps
Much like a white noise machine can help anxious humans tune out sounds at night, playing some soothing music for your pet while the family is gone can help them relax and avoid getting excited over sounds that they may hear and mistake for your children returning from school. Dr. Venator also recommends getting your pet used to sounds that they associate with you leaving, such as doors closing or keys jingling, so that they will become less anxious when they hear these sounds.
5. Spend Time With Your Pet
Although you’re probably burnt out when you get home from work, remember that your furry friend may have been waiting for you at home feeling lonely. Like any other member of the family, make sure you’re taking quality time with your pet each day, whether it’s cuddling, throwing a ball or going for a walk around the block.
For more great tips, be sure to visit PetCentric.com.