Back To School: Navigating Loneliness And Keeping Pets Safe
In many households, the end of the school year means the beginning of a fun summer for your kids and your pets alike. The kids are thrilled to be out of school, and the pets are thrilled to have their old playmate(s) back.
But all good things must come to an end. With many families focusing on school, work, and after school activities right now, your four-legged friend will probably have a lot more free time on his or her paws. Read on to learn about back to school blues in pets and for tips on keeping a curious pet out of trouble this school year.
Could my pet have the “back to school blues”?
For many pets, the change in daily routine that accompanies the start of the school year can be very distressing. If your pet has resorted to urinating or defecating indoors, excessive whining or howling, destructive chewing or clawing frantically at doors, windows or fences, he or she may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Help your furry loved-one overcome this troubling condition with the following tips:
- Stop into your local Austin ZippiVet Animal Hospital. We will help you rule out any underlying medical concerns that may be affecting your pet’s behavior, such as a urinary tract infection, bladder stone or other issue.
- If possible, ease your pet into the new schedule with more alone time for your pet, offering praise or rewards to ease initial anxiety or stress.
- Make it a point to exercise your pet in the morning and evening. A tired pet is much less likely to cause destruction in your home due to anxiety.
- Remain calm when leaving the house and upon returning home – pets can sense our moods and, when we are anxious or overly-excited, it can contribute to a companion animal’s stress.
- If your dog is regularly alone for most of the day, enlist the help of a neighbor or professional dog-walker to let your pooch out and interact with him or her in the middle of the day.
- A few days a week at a doggie-day care is also helpful in easing loneliness for dogs who enjoy socializing with other dogs and people.
- Offer your dog safe chew toys upon leaving for the day, this will help satisfy your pup’s natural urge to chew and may keep him or her from destructive chewing.
- Despite busier schedules, give your pet plenty of attention and quality snuggle time in the evening.
The Hidden Dangers of…Backpacks?
It’s hard to imagine that your child’s backpack could hold potential perils for your pet, but this is often the case. Backpacks, purses, and even pockets can hold tempting, and potentially toxic, items for pets.
Food – With school comes school lunches and snacks. Many common lunch items such as raisins, grapes, certain nuts, chocolate, and overly salty foods are toxic to pets. Many sugar free items such as mints, chewing gum, children’s vitamins, peanut butter and baked goods contain Xylitol, which can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure or liver failure if ingested by your pet.
Medications and Other Toxins – People food is not the only hazard lurking inside backpacks, purses or pockets. Over-the-counter and prescription medications, inhalers, and cigarettes are potentially life threatening to your pet, too. Call us immediately if you suspect that your pet has ingested any of the above items.
In short, stow all backpacks and purses out of your pet’s reach, including those belonging to friends who stop by after school. Be sure that kids empty their pockets before tossing that pair of pants into the hamper (or on bedroom floor!)
The health and happiness of your pet is our top priority at ZippiVet. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns.