Back to School Blues

As kids head back to school, pets may need help adjusting to an empty household.

Unsure of what to do now that they are home alone, they may exhibit behaviors that are destructive and even dangerous.

For these situations, Southeast Area Animal Control Authority has created a list of behaviors to look for as well as solutions to help alleviate the back to school blues.

  • Excessive pacing or barking.
  • Urinating or defecating in the home or in unapproved areas.
  • Escape attempts.
  • Destruction of furniture or toys.
  • Unusual chewing, digging or other frantic behavior.

If such behaviors are evident, pet owners can take specific measures to help their animals. Some strategies to consider include:

  • Introduce short separations to help your pet become accustomed to the schedule change.
  • Foster your pet’s independence by helping him or her play alone with toys and other activities.
  • When your pet is alone, leave her or him an interactive toy via a food dispenser, such as the Kong.
  • Do not punish or scold your pet for unusual behavior during the adjustment period (the behavior could be rooted in fear, and punishment could exacerbate that insecurity).
  • If the behavior does not improve, seek the help of an animal behaviorist or your local veterinarian.

“Back-to-school is a wonderful time for families, but it can be anxiety-provoking for pets, especially for some shelter pets who haven’t had stable homes before,” notes SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “If pet owners know what to look for and are equipped with preventive and healing techniques, this annual rite of fall can be more pleasant for everyone.”

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