Beating the Back to School Blues: Tips on leaving pets behind
School is back in session and that can mean some lonely dogs left at home. Now that their human playmates have returned to class, sports and lessons, it’s time to help your pets find a new hobby. Here are some tips for getting your pet through that initial rough patch.
Eliminate Separation Anxiety
Returning kids to classes can be hard on your dog, so be sure you keep them calm by making them understand you’ll be returning. Gradually reduce the amount of interaction you have with your pets and begin the return to a strict schedule of playtime, mealtime and treat time. By establishing the new routine firmly in your pets mind, you will reduce the anxiety associated with leaving.
Natural calmants can help keep your pet relaxed while the kids are at school and you’re at work. There are a number of effective natural remedies on the market, including ZEN from Licks Pill-Free, Rescue Remedy from Bachs, and Canine Calm Natural Remedy Mist from Earthheart.
Boredom is a dog’s worst enemy. Be sure you provide plenty of things for Fido to chew on, explore and sniff. Try leaving a toy for your pet. A“smart” toy that encourages your pet to eat more slowly by having to puzzle out the food or one that encourages a specific activity is always a good bet. Be sure to check out our article on Backyard Enrichment Activities for Dogs.
Provide a safe area for your pet. If you crate your pet during the day, offer your dog one of your little human’s t-shirts so they don’t feel so lonely. Soothing scents and pheromone therapy can also help decrease fear.
If your pet is fenced in a yard or has the ability to sneak out, make sure they’re equipped with a GPS collar (such as Tagg—The Pet Tracker or Whistle Activity Monitor For Dogs to give you peace of mind while you’re away and have quick access to finding your pet in case they were to get out and run. Also make sure to secure any holes or areas where a pet might slip out. Whistle also provides activity tracking, which can tell you how your dog is doing in terms of activity levels.
Make the Arrival Home Enjoyable
By the time you arrive home, your pet will be ready for a potty break and playtime. Greet your pet at the kennel in a calm way and quickly take them outside. Be sure he understands you haven’t forgotten him by allowing him and the kids some playtime before settling into homework. Not only will it relax and help you unwind, it will allow your pet to relax as well. Remember, exercise releases endorphins which will also help you and your pet feel better about the new schedule.
Most important of all is to remember that your pets may be as stressed as you and the kids. Keep things in perspective, forgive minor discrepancies, and adjust schedules to include your pets. If you do these things, your family will be much more well-adjusted and happy.