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Back to School may not be Cool for Pets


Summer is a time of fun for pets; their owners are home as well as children to play with; maybe they even got to go on a family vacation.  Back to school or work for many pets can be hard on our pets. Schedule changes, less activity and attention can lead to stress, anxiety, behavior problems which can cause health problems.

As the new school year approaches we get very busy, back to school shopping, open house nights, parent teacher conferences, or just returning to a regular work schedule for some may leave Fido in the dust.  Just when you think things have calmed down and you have settled into a routine, along comes the holidays. These are all stress triggers for our pets.  Reducing stress and anxiety from change come in many options. Some of these you can do at home before school starts or the holidays roll around.

New Toys are a great way to provide activity for your pet, look for something that will challenge them but also offer a reward with food. These types of toys or food puzzles are great for boredom and inappropriate behavior. Make sure to have more than one on hand, a variety of toys and treats is important.  

Calming pheromones can be placed in the house; these also help reduce stress and anxiety. Calming music specifically designed for pets species is another tool that can be used in the house.

Schedule changes should be made slowly over the course of a week or so to allow time to adjust. This may include feeding times, play time or just one on one time with your pet. Activity is best for all pets; this can be hard to do at the end of the day when we are tired. Starting adjusting their schedule to fit yours, this will be beneficial to you as well as your pet.  Changing the walking scheduled to early morning walks before leaving for school or work.

Medication may be in need for the more extreme cases. A brief exam with your Certified Fear Free Veterinary Professional will be able to determine if medication is needed and what options will work best for your pet. The new medication available to veterinarians is much different and safer to use than before. Previous medication sent home for anxiety would knock your pet out, but wouldn’t really take away the anxiety. We all know that stress can medically affect us as humans; this also goes for your pets as well.

Doggie Play Care may be the best option for your pet. This would be a place that provides day care for your pet which utilizes all the tools we have already mentioned. Finding a facility that works for you pet is the most important. Call around, stop in without making an appointment, take a tour this is the best way to see what they can do for you. When choosing a boarding facility or day care facility the most important item to check for is how they handle when your pet gets sick at their facility, do they have access to veterinary care to provide medical attention? How do they determine your pet is sick, is their staff trained to assess medical problems? How many times are the dogs walked or let outside? Do they get any human interaction while staying there, if the whole goal is not leaving them home alone, then make sure they are not just let out into a play yard or run by themselves.  How are they monitoring normal bathroom habits? These are all key questions to ask when leaving your pet with someone. Our pets are our family and they should be treated like one. 

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