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Pet And Back To School Blues

Sad brown dog looking out the window

Summer always seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. And with Labor Day quickly approaching, it’s hard to ignore that school will start again before we know it. It’s understandable that after two months of constant play and exercise with the kids, pets may feel lonely and abandoned once the house gets quiet.

Understandably, pets may experience stress and behavioral issues during this transition. Some dogs may feel bored and find destructive ways to entertain themselves, while others may become depressed or suffer from separation anxiety.

Here are some things we can do to help with stress and behavioral problems in pets after kids return to school:

1. Avoid sudden changes in their daily routine. Slowly start a new routine 1 to 2 weeks before school starts. Begin by introducing your dog to short periods of separation and begin increasing the time that you are away.

2. Make departures happy with toys and treats. The idea is to transform a potentially sad event into a happier, less stressful one. Kong toys filled with frozen peanut butter or filled with food can distract a dog for 15 to 30 minutes after you depart.

3. Create a place where your pet can feel safe and secure. This could be a den-like environment or an enclosed open crate in a quiet area of the house.

4. Avoid indulging anxious or nervous behavior with baby talk or sympathy. This only encourages or reinforces that behavior.

5. Make additional time for play or walks one to two weeks before school starts. Consider adding an additional walk at night and or going for a walk in the morning before leaving. Brushing your dog or practicing tricks before you leave is another way of engaging them for a short period of time before the day begins.

6. Cats tend to be more self-sufficient than dogs and can have less depression and anxiety when school begins and schedules change. Still, many cats enjoy an additional brushing or extra play sessions.

7. Punishing or scolding anxious or distractive behavior will only make it worse. If your pet is having difficulty, consult with your veterinarian about other available options.

*Following these tips can help your pets feel less stressed and healthier once school starts again. Another way to help keep your pets healthy is to feed them a complete and balanced diet. Our Loyall Life and Nutrena True recipes use the highest quality ingredients to ensure they get the necessary nutrients for a balanced diet. Learn more about how Nutrena can help you feed your pet well: