Helping Your Pet Deal with Back-to-School Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

We pet owners often deal with separation anxiety in our pets when we have to go off to work for a few hours, or even a long trip where they have a pet sitter or are boarded. However, pets can also suffer from separation anxiety when our children return to school after a nice summer break. There are some tricks to helping your pet deal with back-to-school separation anxiety.

The Scent Trick

Many times you can help curb some anxiety experienced in your pet by giving him an article of clothing that has your child’s scent on it. An old t-shirt or even a pillow case that is used for sleeping usually does the trick. This little anxiety hack gives your pet the experience of smelling your child around, even if she’s not, so that there is some comfort given.

The Distraction Trick

One of the best ways to avoid seeing separation anxiety in your pet is to provide some distractions to keep him from moping around the house until the school bus arrives. This is a great time for a doggie play-date, a trip to the groomer’s, a seasonal vet check or just going out for a walk around the neighborhood now that cooler weather has arrived. You may even want to see about introducing a new toy to his arsenal for him to explore and discover a new form of play.

Dog Separation Anxiety Training

While this is another form of distraction, it actually has a dual purpose. This is the perfect opportunity to begin a new training regimen for your pet. Stock up on your pet’s favorite small treats, and begin to execute your plan to finally get your pet trained to do (or not do) any behavior that you’ve been putting off addressing until now. Even if this means that you enroll in a local group training class, this is a chance to get a goal accomplished, as well as improving the quality of life for your pet and your family.

We know that nothing brightens a pet up and helps bring him out of a little emotional funk like when a loved one is away even for a few hours and then seeing that loved one return once again. If you’re facing a situation where your child has gone off to college, work on using some distraction techniques or the scent trick, but also use some technology to fill the gaps. If you use your computer or smartphone to video chat with your child, involve your pet in the moment so that he has a chance to see “his kid,” as well. Given enough time and distractions, he will be just fine.


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