While we all miss our pets when we leave home for the day, we don’t realize how much they miss us too. From their perspective, they’ve just spent the summer with their beloved owners, getting constant cuddles, attention, and walks, and little do they know it’s all about to change when the kids go back to school!
Have no fear, we’re veterans of helping our dogs deal with back to school separation anxiety and we've got plenty of tips to help your pets adjust to the changes in your schedule.
Our pets love their household routines. When a home once full of reliable activity and attention suddenly goes quiet, it’s easy to get lonely. You may have seen some of the signs: chewing and other destructive behaviour, accidents, excessive whining or barking, scratching, panting, pacing, disobedience, waiting by doors and windows, and (though we hope not!) even running away. That’s what separation anxiety looks like. So what can you do to help?
Create a New Routine
We just talked about how pets love their routines - make sure the transition to a school schedule includes a new routine for your pet too.
Spend time with them in the morning before you leave. Make time to go for a nice, long walk to a local coffee shop or park or throw their favorite ball in the backyard to help get some energy out.
If your pup is anything like Austin, tired means happy! You may find it’s just what you need to ease your furry friends’ anxiety so they can enjoy the new season with the rest of us.
Later in the day, when you do get home, take another walk or spend some time at the park to help keep them happy and get the zoomies out after being alone inside all day.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you or the kids haven’t been leaving the house very much lately, going for a whole day may be a big jump for your pet.
If you can, try leaving for a couple of hours while you run some errands so they have time to adjust to being alone for an extended period of time.
Support a Sense of Calm with CBD
You know we're going to say it - CBD helps support your pet's sense of homeostasis and calm. And if you have an anxious pet, a little natural support from our favorite plant will help them learn that everything will be OK a bit faster.
All of our formulas use the same broad spectrum, whole-plant hemp extracts - rich in CBD. But for anxious pets specifically, Bailey's No More Wiggles oil includes soothing botanicals like Valerian Root and L-Tryptophan to further support a sense of calm.
Make sure you give CBD 30-45 minutes before you prepare to leave so it has time to get into their system and so your pet doesn't associate it with separation triggers like the jingle of your keys or the sight of your backpack.
Don't Fuss When You Leave & Return
Keep it casual. Head out the door quietly, don’t rile your dog up with long goodbyes and then hastily rush out the door. Perhaps set your pet up in their bed for a snooze and then walk out the room... just make it as much of a soothing goodbye as you can so they don’t take much notice.
Just like when you leave, returning calmly and quietly will help maintain good behavior.
Make Sure Their Space Feels Safe
While they're home alone, your pet should have a safe and restful place to wait for you to return. Otherwise, they'll spend a restless day looking for you, defending your home from the mailman, or otherwise getting into trouble.
🐾 Close the Curtains
Do you have a dog that likes to bark at everyone who passes by? In our family, that’s Bailey... something bugs him about every single mailman that comes by our house! Making sure there’s no way your dog can peek outside will ensure they can’t get distracted by the neighbors, and that way they can feel safe and secure in the comfort of their home.
🐾 Put on Some White Noise
Calming music, a chill radio station, a white noise machine, or even a fan can go a long way in helping your dogs tune out the neighborhood and relax.
We’ve got in the habit of leaving our dogs with one of our favorite relaxing radio stations playing quietly in some rooms of the house. This works to conceal any insignificant noises outside that they may pick up on and just generally keeps them calmer.
Funny how, just like with humans, a calm music can help your dog chill out and doze off!
🐾 Leave a Memento
Your familiar smell can help lend your pet some comfort, leave them with a recently worn sweatshirt or a throw blanket to cuddle when they're missing you.
Give Them Something to Look Forward To
A special toy, meal, or other treat while you're gone will help distract your pet from their loneliness 'til you get back.
Enhancing their morning meal can help distract your pet as you make your way out the door. (Hint: Try our new 100% microground botantical meal toppers)
Puzzle toys work really well because they keep pups occupied for a while as they work towards their reward. You can even use it to keep them busy during those chaotic morning departures for school or the office.
If you’ve got felines in the family, hide some kibble bits around the house for them to investigate, or you can set up a window perch with a birdhouse view.
Just make sure to tuck any special toys away when you’re back home, so it remains exciting for your pet.
Finally, Lavish Your Pets with Attention when You're Reunited
Your family might be tired after a day at work, school, and activities - but your pet has been waiting for you all day! Don't forget to take some time with your pet each evening to make sure they get plenty of attention and exercise after a long day of waiting for you.