If your pets seem depressed lately and a member of the family is back at school, it could be a case of Back to School Anxiety.
Pets, especially dogs and cats, become used to having all the family around during the summer and now that school is back in session, they can suffer bouts of stress, anxiety and periods of destructiveness.
“Pets, just like people, do really well when there’s a routine, and a change in that routine sets off anxiety and feelings of loneliness or depression,” says Dr. Julia Georgesen. In this Pets Podcast Episode (click sound file above) she says it’s important to adhere to a walking/feeding schedule and to make time to exercise pets.
“You could also have a dog walker come in the middle of the day or enroll them, even for just one day a week, in doggie daycare or socialization classes,” says Georgesen. She also recommends crating your dog during the day when you’re not at home. Remember, when you leave pets alone, make sure their chew toys and favorite playthings are left where they can find them.
In some cases, the anxiety might become so severe that pets may need professional help or medication. A trainer or pet behaviorist might be able to help, especially if there’s destructive or aggressive behavior involved.