Sep 22 2017

Back-to-School Anxiety | Winslow Animal Hospital Dog & Cat

For families with school-aged children, the summer months can be a time of fun, adventures, and togetherness.  The family pets can often feel this, too.  When that changes in September, it’s not only the students who have to adjust.  Pets can experience separation anxiety with the added distance between themselves and their family members who aren’t home anymore.  In addition to classes, the fall often has sports and other extracurricular activities that take the family out of the house. Since dogs are such social animals, it’s no wonder there is stress in some pets!

Signs your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety include destructive or anxious behaviors like:

  • Howling
  • Chewing
  • Pacing
  • House-soiling
  • Attempting to escape from the house or yard


These behaviors can be a problem for the family just when you’re trying to adjust to all the other changes in your life. There are some steps you can take to improve the situation.

  • Schedule an appointment with your vet. These problem behaviors could also have an underlying medical cause. A veterinarian is trained to find and treat all kinds of health problems your pet might be facing. They may also have ideas about what your specific pet needs.
  • Provide distracting toys. Many dogs love a Kong toy filled with peanut butter, and the activity will keep them focused on a constructive behavior rather than a destructive one.  It may even help your pet adjust to the changing routine by giving them something else to put their mind to.
  • Consider some form of pet care. Maybe a neighbor with extra free time or a doggy day care in the area. A day or two of supervised play and exercise may be helpful for your lonely dog.
  • Take your pooch for long morning walks to get him plenty of exercise and tire him out.
  • Spend quality time with your dog when you are at home; include him in family activities to assure him he’s still an important part of the family.

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