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: â€œPart of that emotional attachment is a behavioral expectation that the two are going to do something predictable. Itâ€™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.â€
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.