If your little ones and pups are like mine, they have been inseparable pals all summer long chasing bugs, playing in the dirt and having water fights. Too bad the only one getting naps have been my dogs, Penny and Miles. But now that it’s back to school, my dogs aren’t going to get as many pets or snuggles since my kiddos just won’t be there. And because my dogs are part of the family, I want to make sure their transition this new school year is a smooth one.
Read on to see some tips for treating separation anxiety, creating a smooth transition and even some helpful bus stop etiquette now that it is back to school for the kids – and the dogs. Don’t hesitate to contact Space Coast Pet Services, because we love to help!
TREATING SEPARATION ANXIETY
Eliminating separation anxiety altogether may not be possible, but here are a few tips to help you help your canine companion make the transition well so that they don’t feel like they have to wait by the door.
- Natural anti-anxiety remedies. Natural remedies have advanced so much in the past few years. You can readily find things like collars, sprays, and diffusers with natural pheromones from which to choose. Or, check out com for some essential oil options.
- Omega-3s for dogs. Fish oil is in the news, because it has many great health benefits, like helping allergies and with skin conditions, but studies also suggest that they are very helpful in managing anxiety. Make sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the right dose for your unique dog.
- Canine scent association. Old sweatshirts or blankets might be a great and super plush addition in their crates or wherever they usually sleep. Leaving part of you with them will give them comfort as long as you are away.
- Utilize crate training. If your dog is already crate trained, put him in his crate rather than let him have a meltdown at the door. Give them a treat, use that blanket, too. Big Caution: If your dog has not been adequately crate-trained, this will do more way more harm than good, especially to a dog with current separation anxiety.
- Puppy massage. Massaging her ears and paws will not only help manage your dog’s anxiety but is yet another opportunity for you to bond with your pet. Search for dog massage videos online to help you learn how.
- Senior Dogs. Back to school is an exciting time for your little ones, but don’t let it get too stressful for your furry friend. Most importantly, don’t get frustrated. Older dogs feel anxiety more than younger ones, even if they were incredibly confident when they were younger. That, and the learning curve applies to both pup parents and their dogs, so have patience with your best friend. They will love you for it.
MAKING A SMOOTH TRANSITION
Habits are hard to break, especially making the transition from a timeless summertime to a structured school year, but we have some easy and applicable advice to help.
- De-sensitize your dog to schedule changes. Start the morning routine early for your dog—and your kids. Practice leaving and returning so that your dog knows you will return. Dogs, like kids, love schedules! (And treats…)
- Use pawsitive treat association. Teach your dog that getting the little ones ready for the bus means that they get a treat. By giving them something yummy when you or the kids leave the house, they will associate leaving with food.
- Boost your dog’s confidence. Games are a great way to help your pup gain greater confidence. Hide treats. Teach them the names of their toys. Or, if they are really savvy, maybe they can learn to put away their toys just like your little ones. If the dog can do it, the kids will have no excuse!
- Keep your dog busy. Frozen peanut butter packed inside a Kong will definitely take their mind off of the kiddos leaving the house. Plus, it will take your dog at least 30 minutes to power through frozen peanut butter in one of those things, and that’s plenty of time to lull them into a good nap when the house empties out. Prepare it the night before to save yourself from early morning stresses.
- Hire a Pet Sitter. Space Coast Pet Services is a team of experienced and professional pet sitters and dog walkers serving Brevard County, Florida and the Space Coast area as well as those visiting here from out of town. We can drop in and perform well checks and potty breaks or take your doggo for a walk. We are here to help!
BUS STOP ETIQUETTE
My dogs love walking to the bus with me! They are pretty well-behaved, too. Some people, though, don’t understand that there are kids out there with real phobias, so here are some tips for pet parents about bus stop etiquette so that everyone gets off to school in the best of moods!
- Keep your dog leashed. Maybe your dog is the best behaved little pup in the world, but “squirrel” happens! I think of it this way, “It’s not about anyone else, it’s about the safety of your dog.” Wouldn’t you rather be overprotective than regretful?
- Keep them happy but quiet. Not all kids (or adults) are okay with dogs. For some, it is a genuine fear, and others an irritation. Either way, the best way to take care of your pup is to keep them calm and right by your side.
- Poop patrol. A good way of preventing poop issues is to make sure your dog gets to go outside before walking to the bus with you and the kiddos. In fact, if you are crunched on time, we will do the dirty work for you.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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