Your kids aren’t the only ones making the back-to-school transition these days. After a couple of months of round-the-clock companionship and playtime, switching gears from summer fun- and getting back to the school year routine – can be tough on your dog, too!
Some dogs may whine and wait at the door for the kids’ return, but they’ll eventually adjust to the new routine. Other dogs will feel downright abandoned, sad, or suffer through some severe separation anxiety.
“I do think dogs will show some depression after they spent a lot of time with the child, and then suddenly without warning, their routine is disrupted,” says Dr. Tom Watson from Carolinas Veterinary Medical Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some dogs will be restless, bark, whine, or find more destructive ways to vent their frustration. Dr. Watson says some dogs may not eat as much, or they may just not be as playful while they’re adjusting to the new weekday routine.
To ease the transition for you and your dog, help make goodbye time more fun with a new before-school routine:
- Build in some morning playtime
- Go on a walk together before leaving
- Walk to school or the bus stop together
- If you drive, bring your dog along for the ride
- Make the send-off with a treat
- Greet your dog with enthusiasm when you return!
“The good thing about pets,” adds Dr. Watston, is that they quickly adapt and the depression usually doesn’t last very long.” For those whose dogs have more serious separation issues, other options include pet sitters, dog walkers and doggy day camp. And if you haven’t found a solution, call your veterinarian for advice!
Here’s to a great school year for you and your family!