Back to School…Is Your Pet Ready?

Merritt Milam | August 1, 2019

Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Routine

Summer is quickly coming to an end. In just a few short weeks, children will be heading back to school. Parents may be looking forward to the change but pets can experience depression and anxiety by the sudden break in their routine.


Our pets, like our children, do best when they follow a routine. Whether it’s when they eat, exercise, or even nap, pets do best when they follow a set schedule. If that routine is suddenly altered, pets can exhibit disruptive behavior such as:

– Excessive barking

– Clawing at doors, or other barriers to escape

– Loss of appetite

– Lack of energy

– Pacing

– Indoor defecation and urination


Dogs who have been through a “Back to School” change in the past may find it easier to adjust. However, all pets could benefit from some simple preparations that will make the transition easier. Here are a few good suggestions from 24PetWatch, a pet protection service.

Create a new routine – Consider adding a morning and evening exercise time with your dog. This helps them burn off energy and they’ll enjoy the time they spend with you or a family member. If you can’t add this to your new schedule, consider bringing them to Wags ‘N Whiskers day care. They will love the staff attention and get plenty of exercise.

Transition slowly – Sudden changes can result in unwanted behavior changes. Before school starts and our furry friends find themselves alone or without their human siblings, try leaving your pet for very short periods of time. When you return, make sure they are praised and loved. Slowly extend the time away, each time providing lots of well-earned attention.

Counter-Conditioning– Our pets are smart and can easily pick up on cues when you are preparing to leave. Putting on shoes and grabbing your keys are triggers that can cause anxiety in your pet. To lessen their separation feelings, try pairing your leaving with a favorite treat or toy.

Distraction –When you leave, make sure your pet has plenty of toys to keep them busy. You might leave a TV or radio on while you’re gone. It’s white noise to them but it may mask outside sounds that otherwise would stimulate them or cause them to bark.


If your pet is still having issues with separation anxiety, see your veterinarian. They may need to prescribe medication for anxiety or determine if your pet is experiencing other health-related problems.


Remember, Wags can provide your pets a great opportunity to socialize and exercise when their summer routine changes and the kids are back in school.