Pets Depressed As Children Go Back To School

Sad Dog

It’s mid-September and school is in full swing. Your children may be happy to be back at school, but your cats and dogs may not be so thrilled.

Your pet’s best friend, your child, is now gone for most of the day, and your dog doesn’t have someone to play with for hours at a time. Your cat or dog may have the back-to-school blues as your pet gets used to your and your child’s different schedule.

A dog or cat becomes emotionally attached to owners, and when their normal routine is disrupted, they may become distressed.

John C. Wright, an animal behaviorist and professor of psychology, said: “Part of that emotional attachment is a behavioral expectation that the two are going to do something predictable. It’s important to the cat on a daily basis. So you have a disruption in daily routine when someone leaves for school, a disruption in the emotional security the cat has, and that can result in both emotional and behavioral depression.”

He added that when cats are emotionally distressed, they are distraught and vocalize more than usual.

Here are some ways to get your dog or cat out of the back-to-school blues:

  • For dogs, lots of exercise can help. The more physical exercise, the more endorphin release, which can help pets feel happy.
  • If you are depressed, then your pet will be depressed. If you are sad that your child is back in school or off to college, your pet will sense your sadness.
  • Provide something familiar and comfortable for the pet by leaving a piece of clothing of the person who has left. The scent of a favorite person around the house may help your dog relax. For cats, keep their routine the same. Feed and play with cats at their normal time.
  • To help your pet get used to being by himself, leave the house for brief periods at a time and gradually lengthen the amount of time before you return.
  • Keep goodbyes and hellos matter-of-fact and short, so that your going away does not seem like a big deal.
  • Have pets perform a command, such as sit or shake, and give them a treat before you leave.

Source: MSNBC

Photo: doggoneblog

4 Responses to “Pets Depressed As Children Go Back To School”

  1. Bridgett says:

    I think the cat was more than happy to see me leave. I interrupted her regularly scheduled life during the summer.

  2. Lynn says:

    The pups on the oher hand were sulky, having missed extra attention and game-playing.

  3. G in INdiana says:

    My GSMD was very put out when my daughter went off to college. He’d sit by her room and sigh. Now he is better, my daughter having been gone for a few weeks. I am sure that behavior will return when she comes back for a weekend then leaves for school again. The other two dogs don’t seem to really care that much, but he is very sad when she leaves.

  4. Joan says:

    That makes sense. My daughter went back to school and the dog just goes into her room and looks at her empty bed. She sleeps in her room during the day and just lays around in there. When my daughter gets home she goes nuts when she hears the door open and is back to her old self. I thought this might be the case but seeing this article makes me feel less crazy.


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