Back To School Blues, It is an adjustment for everyone

September 9, 2014

Our dog Jasper is a happy dog. He loves being around people and is perfectly content hanging out as we putter through our daily routine. Our cat Synthia is a little less obvious about her need to be with the family, as she is always around but likes to keep to herself. Synthia will perch atop her kitty house and just watch while Jasper needs to be at our feet, especially when we are in the kitchen.

Since I’ve started a part-time job and the kids are off at school, both Jasper and Synthia are not themselves. Jasper paces the house, whining, and Synthia goes off in one of her hiding places in the house. And I’m worried about both of them.

According to experts changes in your routine are exactly what can cause our beloved pets to be distressed. While my time is now shrinking because of my obligations, their need for routine is just as important as it ever was.

John C. Williams, animal behaviorist, says that pets like predictability and routine. By taking away that emotional security, behaviors such as depression, vocalization, lethargy or hyperactivity, potty accidents, or even separation anxiety can begin.

Experts agree that the most important thing is to establish a routine that is as close as their past routine as possible. Since I am not able to be there myself during the day, I am exploring alternatives to provide my pets with more companionship and to make up for the exercise that the pets are missing with the kids gone all day. I really like the idea that someone will be there for them and they don’t have to adjust as many changes.

Additional ideas I’ve found include the ASPCA recommendation of giving your pet a treat when you leave the house so they associate you leaving with the pleasant activity of a fun treat. Another ideas is taking a piece of worn clothing and leaving it in the pets’ space so they can smell you through the day. Keeping your pet busy will also help them pass the time, Kongs are a favorite toy recommendation because they provide both the stimulation of chewing and a treat.

Next time we have a major life change I will plan further ahead now that I know what an impact it can have on our furry family members and ease them into their new routine. In the meantime, I’ll make sure I have walkers and sitters checking on them daily and leave them with yummy treats and toys to help ease their stress.

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