By Christina Burns
Summertime is officially behind us, the kids are back in school, and we have resumed our normal routines. Our absence from the home is often times very stressful and can leave pets feeling neglected or anxious possibly triggering depression in our furry companions. Those three months are filled with trips, vacations, long car rides, and overall increased activity for all family members, making the transition back to daily routines challenging one. Symptoms of depression can be lethargy, appetite changes (increase or decrease), and lack of engagement. Whereas separation anxiety can have erratic symptoms that include excessive vocalization, scratching household items, etc. Creating new routines or restoring old ones a month before the routines change help going back to school easy for everyone. It’s important to know how the change of routine will affect your pet’s emotional well-being and recognize causes and symptoms but most of all – how to prepare so that your pet doesn’t even notice a change.
Here are some routine tips and tricks that can help ease into this change:
- Keep pets social – setting up play dates, doggy daycare, etc. the more dogs are socially stimulated the more bad behaviors stay away.
- Keep pets entertained – whether it is a ball, or an interactive toy or toy laser, keeping pets entertained keeps occupy their highly active minds.
- Time Away – short stays alone for your pets help them survive the longer days ahead and build trust between you and your pets. If they know, you will be leaving and coming back, they are less likely to develop separation anxiety. I make leaving uneventful with a reward of a “snacky” to my dog and when I return I don’t make a big deal about it either.
- Play music – music, typically classical helps to calm and soothe pets.
- Afternoon Hang Time – if you live closely enough come home for your lunchtime! It is a great way to break up the day for your fur kids and YOU too! I am very grateful to work close to home and am able to spend some time during my lunch with them – I am always in a better mood after lunch!
- Keeps Cats inside – during the morning rush it can be easy for cats to slip quietly outdoors. Once outside cats, are subject to many environmental issues and natural predators that can put them in harm’s way to avoid their stress and yours by keeping them inside always.
- Use a Leash – in many states it’s the law, and it’s always a good idea to keep dog leashed regardless the time of year. However, those back to school rushed mornings can be hectic for all.
Prevention is always better than a cure. It’s important that we as pet parents understand the needs, emotions, and behaviors of our fur kids. They use these areas to communicate to us what they need from us and are truly dependant on us to help manage their needs.
Christina lives in sunny Orange County, CA as a full-time working pet mommy. Her love of animals goes back to her childhood where she used to rescue animals big and small and bring them home to her family. Always an avid pet owner, cats specifically, she adopted her first dog in 2012 where her zest for learning and finding healthy options for her pets has become a passion of hers. She is excited to begin sharing her knowledge with a larger audience.
Her pet mommy mantra: Remember pet parenthood is a privilege and an honor; try to find new ways to share new experiences with your furry family- life is short!