Parents aren’t the only ones who suffer from empty nest syndrome when the kids go back to school; it can have an impact on the family pets too! From a lethargic mood to destructive behavior, there are many signs your pet may be missing their best human friend more than usual. Here are some tips to help you prepare your pets beforehand and help them cope with this anxious time of year.
This can be a great chance for your kids to take more responsibility for the care of their pets. Let your kids know that their dog or cat will be missing them while they’re gone all day, and discuss what they can do to help their pets through it.
To help balance out the boredom of an empty house, have your kids create interactive puzzle feeders or make a scavenger hunt by dividing up your pet’s daily amount of food into small bowls and hiding them around the house. Using a food like Beneful®, which has real beef or chicken as the #1 ingredient, will help engage their senses and make the scavenger hunt more rewarding.
If your pet exhibits true separation anxiety, for example, he goes crazy when he sees your kids put on their backpacks to leave for school, or is destructive when everyone is gone, you'll have to do some gentle training to ease his stress. When you leave, keep goodbyes short and upbeat, or eliminate them completely.
Another great way to help take the edge off your pet’s anxiety is to tucker them out before you and the kids leave for the day. Find 20-30 minutes in the morning for some tiring playtime or take your dog on a vigorous walk. With some strenuous exercise early in the day, your cat or dog is more likely to be tired and spend the day sleeping — not stressing.
Remember, your pets can get nervous, upset, anxious or lonely just like people, only they don't have the benefit of knowing that you’ll be back when you leave. It's up to you and your kids to make your pets feel secure in ways they understand.
Article provided by PURINA®
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