Why the back-to-school season can be stressful for pets

Pets, but particularly dogs, get used to having the whole family home during the summer months. Having that abrupt change can be stressful and confusing for them. Separation anxiety can be incredibly challenging to navigate for both the pet and the family.

Signs your pet may be experiencing separation anxiety include:

  • Excessive chewing, biting, or licking of paws
  • Drooling or panting more than usual
  • Not eating their meals as normal
  • Pacing
  • Whining, barking, or being more vocal
  • Having accidents in the house

Here are some things you can do to help ease the transition:

  1. Integrate a new schedule before school actually starts to ease in the transition. Don’t wait until school actually starts! Have your kids get up and practice their back to school routine to help the pets out. Work in when they will have time for a quick game of fetch, a walk, and feeding time. Start doing those things on that schedule before school starts. Having some predictability in the day helps relieve anxiety for us all!
  2. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise every day. Exercise helps relieve anxiety and can prevent descriptive behaviors like excessive licking and chewing. For some dogs, people time can be as important or even more important than exercise, so figure out when that can happen each day to make sure your pet get what they need to prevent acting out.
  3. Practice leaving the house in short amounts of time to create a new routine. Start running errands or make a short trip each day around the time you will be leaving the house for school. This will help your pet adjust over time without the long wait to come home each day.  
  4. Spend quality time with your pet before and after school hours. Pet time after school is a great way to keep kids off screens when they come home, and it’s also great for practicing some new skills! Reading out loud to pets is beneficial for new readers, as well as students who are learning a new language. Dogs don’t judge or correct you! 
  5. Keep them busy while you’re away with stimulating activities, toys, and treats. Puzzle toys, stuffed frozen toys, and treat dispensers can keep your pet’s mind active while you’re out of the house so they don’t chew or scratch. 
  6. Create a safe space for them that is calming and helps them feel secure. Crate training isn’t just for you, it’s for your pet, too. A create or space devoted to your pet gives them something that’s theirs and helps them feel secure when they are anxious or tired. Make sure children in the house know that a pet going to their crate is a signal that they need alone time.

Did you know that Nummy Tum-Tum helps relieve anxiety in pets? Pet parents email us all the time to let us know how the fiber in our purees help calm nervous tummies and prepare pets for visitors, schedule changes, and travel. If you’d like to order directly from us, sign up for our email list! We’ll let you know when our online store is live.