Photo credit: The National Archives and Records Administration

In homes with school-aged children and pets, summer is usually full of fun activities for everyone in the family – including the dog. But what happens when the kids head back to school at the end of summer and things are suddenly quiet and lonely?

On the heels of a sudden change in daily routine, your dog may experience separation anxiety and depression. This is triggered by separation from the people they are attached to, and who are suddenly not there all the time. They may suffer from home alone issues that manifest in unwanted behaviors.

Here are some signs your dog may be suffering from separation anxieties:

  • Attempting to escape the house or yard

  • Destructive behavior like chewing or soiling

  • Whining or howling

  • Pacing

  • Lethargy or lack of energy

The good news is there are ways to help your dog cope with new routines and schedules. Here are some helpful ways to help your dog adjust to the fall schedule, according to the Oregon Humane Society:

  • Exercise: A tired dog is a good dog! Spend time exercising your dog before you leave for the day. Go for a walk, play fetch in your yard, do some fun training exercises.

  • Doggie Daycare: Check out doggie daycares in your area or consider hiring a dog walker. It may be worth the expense for a day of supervised play and exercise.

  • Puzzle Toys: Keep your dog busy while you’re away. Stuff a Kong with treats, hide kibble around his play area, or set up puzzle toys to provide your dog with mental stimulation and entertainment. 

  • Crate Training: Try crate training your dog. See our crate pads and Lectro-Kennel line for the ultimate in comfort crate training.

  • Secure Indoors: When the kids leave for school, keep your dog securely inside your home so he isn’t tempted to follow your child down the street.

  • Supervise Playdates: When new friends come over to play, make sure everyone stays safe! Your dog may be overwhelmed by all the excitement, so be sure to supervise interactions.

And of course, when the kids are back home, be sure to include your dog in evening family activities to ensure they know they are part of the family!

Have any tips or stories about back to school time and your pet? We'd love to hear them!