VET’S VIEW: Don’t forget pets when you’re dealing with a case of the back-to-school blues

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EVERY summer we spend several weeks at home with our dogs and then, all of a sudden, we leave them home alone.

Going back to school can be a huge adjustment for us, as well as our four-legged family members.

Dogs are social creatures and love having humans or other pets around. Even if you’re still home with the children in school, lack of play time and activity can have your dog acting up or feeling depressed.

Luckily, so here’re a few things you can do to help your dog adjust.

Prepare your dog for being alone by practising leaving the house for a few hours every day.

By leaving and coming back, you’re reminding your dog that, even though you have to leave, you’ll be back home to play later.

This way, your dog will always look forward to the moment you come home.

Most dogs require lots of activity, so walk your dog early in the morning, tiring it out so it’s more likely to snooze until you return. Radio, TV and even classical music can help your pet feel safe and comfortable – if your house is too quiet they might feel nervous or anxious, which could lead to compulsive chewing and scratching of furniture, or worse. Make all rooms safe with leads and electrical cables hidden. Stuff food toys with treats to keep active canine minds busy.

If your dog loves socialising with other dogs then why not consider getting him a friend to play with – a rescue dog perhaps?

Otherwise, doggy day-care centres offer excitement, playing with other dogs, coming home tired and worn out, even if only once or twice weekly.

If day care is not an option, then hire a visitor, such as a dog walker or someone who just comes over to walk your dog or play with it. Such services are generally not that expensive and can make the world of difference to your furry friends.