Your family dog has been in paradise all summer long. Running around with kids, family vacations, trips to lake, evening walks—are all reasons why your pooch loves summer break. However, all that fun in the sun quickly turns into long days at home alone once school goes back in session. Withdrawal from constant companionship can make dogs feel sad or anxious— which can lead to destructive behaviors. Recognize the signs to stay ahead of doggy-depression and keep your WHOLE family happy!
Signs of Back-to-School Blues
Are you concerned that your pooch might be sad due to lack of comradery and busier schedules? Look for these signs that could indicate your pup may need some extra attention.
- Depression: Lack of energy, loss of appetite, hiding, aloofness, and lack of interest in play or walks.
- Anxiety: Excessive barking and whining; panting; scratching at doors, windows, or fences; clinginess; destructive chewing; and having accidents indoors.
If your dog is suddenly showing any of these symptoms, back-to-school blues could be to blame. If you’re unsure or become concerned about changes in behavior, it’s never a bad idea to take a trip to the vet. Better to be over cautious!
Setting a New Schedule
Dogs need a pack leader. Having a confident leader leads to confident, less anxious followers! Set a schedule. Be consistent. Dogs appreciate structure and routine.
Mornings: Get the energy, pees and poops out early! Tire dogs out with morning walks or runs. The best-case scenario is that your dogs will snooze the hours away and you’ll be reunited before they know it!
Leaving the House: Don’t make a big deal out of saying goodbye—give a treat or toy and go. Dwelling and becoming emotional will only make it harder for your dog to say goodbye and cause more anxiety. Giving your dog, some new toys and distractions will keep him from getting bored. A Kong toy filled with peanut butter, or another healthy treat, is an entertaining treat-toy hybrid!
Midday: Worried about them home alone all day? Make time to go home and check on them at lunchtime. Also look into signing up for training classes, doggy daycare or find a trusted pet sitter or older child to come play for an hour to break up the long day alone.
Coming Home: When you get home, try not to make a huge, emotional deal over it. Greet your dog calmly and happily. Have a routine—give them a pat, feed them dinner, take them outside. Whatever you decide, be consistent. A healthy dose of evening exercise will lead to sound sleeping and calmer mornings as well.
With consistency, dogs acclimate to change well. Your dog will adjust to the new schedule and will soon go back to being happy as ever!
The information provided in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your veterinarian. Always consult your veterinarian with questions about your pet’s health and before initiating any treatment regimes.