Is Pet Anxiety Normal at the Start of the School Year?
It might seem a bit early, but it’s good to be prepared if your pet will experience any changes to the household dynamic this coming school year. During the summer months, the house may be absolutely brimming with squeals of laughter, blobs of peanut butter and honey, and a never-ending parade of activity. But what happens when the school year starts?
Confusing quiet, discomforting boredom, and pet anxiety are normal at the launch of the academic year, but these anxieties can be prevented – and the team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center can help you prepare.
The Difference Is Deeply Felt
Your cat may feel intense relief at the absence of unpredictable noise, but your dog could have other opinions. If your pooch not only likes the family activity but also prefers it to eerie silence, you could have your work cut out for you at summer’s end. After all, dogs are pack animals and feel very attached to routine. Without the adherence to daily schedules, depression, anxiety, or destructive behaviors can set in.
Fit the Bill?
Pet anxiety is typically marked by the following symptoms:
- Excessive barking, howling, whining, and/or whimpering
- Destructive behavior
- Lack of appetite
- Repeated soiling inside the house
- Obsessive sniffing, searching, pacing, and/or looking out windows and doors
- Light or noise sensitivity
Prepare for Pet Anxiety
When “normal” household practices are abandoned, it’s only natural for your pet to feel unsettled. Obviously, if it’s abrupt your pet won’t have time to get used to it. Thwart pet anxiety with our preparation tips:
- Always keep scheduled meal and exercise times.
- Over the next few weeks, gradually introduce your pet to the idea that he or she will be left alone for longer stretches of time. By the time school begins, your pet should be able to get through the entire day without company.
- Before you leave, spend time with your pet and offer lots of praise and affection.
- Take him or her to a preferred spot to boost feelings of happiness and security.
- Give your pet a favorite treat.
- Consider your pet’s needs and personality. If he or she will clearly benefit from a dog walker, pet sitter, or doggy daycare program, invest in the possibility. You’ll be happy you did!
- Keep a variety of mentally stimulating activities, such a Kong treat dispenser, around the house.
- In the afternoon, when school’s out, give your pet an opportunity to exercise and use up any unspent energy.
- Reward your pet for good behavior.
- Do not overreact to signs of pet anxiety. Stay calm, never punish your pet for behavioral changes, and let us help you with this uncomfortable transition.
- Remember, items that normally wouldn’t be a problem for your pet can become major targets. Potted plants, garbage cans, furniture, and clothing can get damaged as a result of pet anxiety.
Carry on, but Ask for Help
Every pet is unique, and many pets react quite differently to change. Your patience, understanding, and commitment to the prevention and treatment of pet anxiety are excellent advantages to combating any problems. Of course, we are always here to help, and encourage you reach out to us with any questions.