You may notice your cat or dog acting a bit down this time of year. Your pet may be experiencing the back-to-school blues. As the kids board the bus, your pet’s schedule, and entire reality, changes. They receive less attention, less excitement, and they just miss their humans!

Why Do Dogs and Cats Struggle to Cope with the Kids Going Back to School?

Our pets miss us when we’re gone. The latest studies show that dogs feel sad when their humans are gone and happy when they return. And while cats are a bit harder to read, they miss us, too!

For dogs, they see their people as part of their ‘pack’ and the root of separation anxiety is very similar to what they feel as puppies when their moms leave them. That’s why separation anxiety is paired with puppy-like behavior that, in the wild, would help bring their moms back.

Some signs of dog separation anxiety can include:

  • Whining and crying
  • Abandoning their potty etiquette
  • Scratching at the door and trying to escape
  • Barking and distressed howling
  • Destruction
  • Pacing

Dogs are also creatures of routine and love when they know what to expect. The sudden change of back to school interrupts their “normal” and can increase a dog’s sense of instability.

Our cats, despite their independent dispositions, can also suffer from separation anxiety. Some cats are more prone to separation anxiety. These include rescue kitties, orphan cats, only-child cats, and cats that share a special bond with your son or daughter.

Some indicators of kitty separation anxiety include:

  • Yowling and excessive meowing
  • Having accidents outside the litter box (this can present itself as going on their human’s belongings)
  • Nervous and excessive grooming
  • Lack of appetite or rapid eating

How Can You Help Your Pet Beat the Back to School Blues?

1. Let Your Pet Release Her Nervous Energy

For Dogs

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. Try the Air Kong Squeaker Ball or Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone.

For Cats

Cats should receive at least 30 to 45 minutes of active play, daily. Help your kitty sleep soundly with a play session before school. Try the Kong Grappler Teaser toy for a high-intensity play session.

2. 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.

Like the name implies, the “Busy Buddy” toys will keep your busy buddy-busy. The Magic Mushroom provides pups with long-lasting fun.

The Egg-cersizer is perfect for your feline friend that needs something to break up the boredom of the day and provide a treat when the kids depart for school.

3. 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 saying “good-bye.”

4. Find a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter 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. A dog walker will give you the reassurance that your pup isn’t just moping at home waiting for your return and give your pup a bit of exercise and attention.

For Cats

Use your judgment when it comes to kitties. Some run for the hills and hide deep in the Christmas ornaments while others would appreciate a pet sitter who will stop by for a few pets and attention.

5. Try Adaptil or a Zendog Compression Shirt to Give Your Pup Peace of Mind

If your pet experiences anxiety, you can provide her with a bit of comfort with the help of Adaptil, a pheromone that ignites comfort areas in your dog’s brain.

Another option to help your nervous Nancy is ZenDog Compression Shirt. This hugs your pup in the right spots to calm nerves and ease anxiety.

As for cats, Feliway works wonders to give your cat some comfort.

Don’t Let the Back to School Blues Bother Your Best Friend

As your children learn and grow, keep your pets comfortable, confident, and calm with some of these techniques. 

Nervous and anxious pets sometimes need a little extra support to adjust to changes. If you need additional help or advice from us, we’re happy to chat about solutions that will work for your pet. Make an appointment. We offer a wide range of prescription options that work wonders for anxious pets.

Photo Credit: Pixabay