Your Dog’s Back To School Blues

The “Dog Days of Summer” literally refers to the hottest, most brutal days of the summer. The term actually comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather. 

Here at Grateful Pet, we think it could also stand for the glorious summer months pets spend playing and bonding with the youngsters in their family. But, as August draws to a close and the kids are back in school, all of the fun winds down and their four-legged friends are left along for the majority of the day.

While the thought may seem far fetched, dogs can and will feel depressed and down in the dumps when their world changes. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to combat those feelings.

Run Run Run
Pets with extra energy can have destructive behaviors. The same applies for separation anxiety. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and interaction in the evenings to account for the long, lonely days. We suggest a game of fetch in the bag yard, a short jog or some other activity with your child. And, if its a cold or rainy day, whip out the ol’ laser pointer and let the dogs chase away.

Must Work for Food
A fully belly has a calming effect in dogs. Therefore, if your dog eats in the morning, make sure you get a short walk or some fetch in before hand. Also, its a good idea to have your child give your dog a few treats before leaving for school. The dog will then begin to associate the child’s departure as a positive thing.

When all else fails….distract
Distraction can be a huge ace in the hole to make it through the final hours of the day. Ironically, one of the best tools for that is a television. The sounds are enough to not only block out unknown sounds from outside, but also provide some visual stimulation.  You can also try cracking the blinds on a window for your dog to look outside, chew toys, and a comfy place to sleep.   

Many of these concepts also apply to your daily schedule, regardless of children, school or schedule changes.  The key is to pay attention to what stimulates your dog and recreate those situations when you’re not around.

My dog Jax loves Animal Planet, of course. We simply leave the television on for him and he’s as happy as can be. For Meg, we pack a Kong full of peanut butter and freeze it for a day. Then, before we leave, toss it to her as a peace offering. Its a good idea to keep multiple Kongs on rotation to make sure you always have one handy.  And, for Wilson, all it takes is a comfy bed. He’s our lazy bum whose favorite past time is to sleep. We’ll place his bed in a handy location where we think the other two will be hanging out watching television and chewing on the Kong and we come house with peaceful dogs.

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