Combatting Separation Anxiety During Back-to-School Season

Every year, back-to-school season brings about changes in our schedules. However, while we and our kids get used to our routines again fairly quickly, we still often forget that these changes affect our pets, too.

Dogs often struggle with their human companions being gone more often, and many pets suffer from separation anxiety. Some dogs are unable to cope with being alone, as being around their families makes them feel safe and comfortable. A dog usually presents signs of separation anxiety throughout the day when her family is gone, and a cat generally show signs after his owners have been gone for a few days at a time.

Signs of separation anxiety regularly include:

  • Barking, whining or crying, usually rhythmically and in a higher pitch.
  • Marking or other forms of inappropriate elimination in the house. Talk to your Santa Clarita Animal Hospital veterinarian to make sure this isn’t a sign of a different underlying health issue.
  • Chewing items that smell like the owner or that the owner touches often, like clothing, couches, beds, cell phones, remotes, books and magazines.
  • Drooling, shaking or pacing.

To help your pet get used to a schedule change:

  • Give your pet things to do while you’re gone. Provide plenty of toys so your pet doesn’t feel bored and so she learns she can have fun when you’re not around, too.
  • Don’t block your pet out of the entire house while you’re gone. Pets often escape confinement because they want to be near you, or at the very least, near your scent.
  • Try to change your behavior when you leave and when you come home. Don’t shower your cat or dog with pets before you leave, and don’t act especially excited when you come home either. Keep your distance in these moments so your pet learns that you leaving and coming home is normal.

You can read more about pet separation anxiety here: http://source.colostate.edu/pet-health-back-to-school-time-can-trigger-separation-anxiety-in-pets/

If you need more help managing your pet’s behavior issues, schedule an appointment at Littleton Veterinary Clinic by calling 303-557-7686.

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