Empty Nest Syndrome for dogs? It’s true! While the kids and parents are excited about heading back to school, the four-legged family members may not share the same joy.
They’ve had a summer of fun with their human brothers and sisters, and now they have to leave – wouldn’t you be sad too? Professor Nicholas Dodman from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine told the Today Show that at least one in six dogs and numerous cats will show symptoms of separation anxiety after the kids go back to school. What are these symptoms, you might ask? They’re easy to spot once you realize what they are: chewing furniture, ripping the stuffing out of pillows, going to the bathroom in the house, obsessive barking/whining and shredding paper are just a few, according to Banfield Pet Hospital. How do you reduce this stress? We have a few ideas:
- Avoid emotional departures and greetings. Teach your kids to avoid over stimulating your pup at these times.
- Plan to exercise Bowser before you leave and always make a calm exit.
- Crate/Crate Cover/Crate Mattress: A crate is the safest place for your pup to be when you’re out. Adding a mattress keeps them more comfortable and a crate cover simulates the feeling of a den which makes it a calm and peaceful setting.
- Bed: If they’re not crate-trained, a bed is a great option. Beds with bolsters that surround your dog give a feeling
of security. Choose a pillow bed if your dog likes to sprawl out.
- Gate: Letting your pup have free roam of the house can be dangerous if curiosity gets the best of them and they get into something that can be harmful. Choose a dog-proof room in the house that gives them enough space to move around and can fit a water bowl and bed.
- Interactive toys: Although no toy is completely indestructible, a sturdy toy or an interactive treat-releasing toy will give not only stimulate your pup’s brain, but will keep them preoccupied! You know your dog best, we don’t recommend leaving toys with puppies or dogs that are tough chewers.
- Bark Collar: Our Citronella or Air spray bark collars are a safe and humane way to correct your dog when barking. The spray is released once the dog barks to interrupt the behavior.
- Thundershirt: If your pup gets excited or scared when you are in the process of leaving, try the Thundershirt. Originally invented for dogs that are scared of loud noises, the Thundershirt can be used anytime a dog is feeling anxious. The burrito-like constant pressure that the shirt gives your pup gives them a feeling of security and calms them down.
- Pet Calm Drops: This all-natural remedy settle nerves and reduce anxiety prior to any stress-enhancing event. Add a few drops to their water each morning.
Take these steps to prevent your pup from separation anxiety and back to school time will be a breeze for you and your pup!