Is Your Dog Depressed When the Kids Go Back to School?

It is that time of year again when kids are headed back to school.  Summer family routines are changing as we take our kids shopping for new clothes, school supplies or driving our older kids to college or university.  This can be an especially difficult time for our dogs as they feel our emotions.

Often our kids and dogs are inseparable, so it is not uncommon for doggie parents to note and tell their friends that their family pet seems to mope around or is depressed as their children return to school.

Dogs feeling depressed when their people return to their after summer holiday routines can be hard on us too.   Some of the best suggestions to help your dog feel more secure are:

  • Leaving a t-shirt, pajamas or a pillow case on the floor where your dog likes to sleep can comfort and help him relax as they will feel close to you.
  • When leaving your home, do not make a big deal about going out the door.
  • Leave toys out for your dog to play with. A busy dog is a dog who is not bored or lonely and works off some excess energy.  Many interactive toys are good boredom busters.  My dog loves toys that are odd shaped that wiggle and roll round the floor erratically and he also loves toys that can be filled with treats.  The idea is to find what motivates your dog to entertain and keep themselves busy so they don’t end up getting into trouble while missing you.
  • What is the best cure for feeling down?   The more we get outside and walk our dogs, the better we all feel.   After school while your dog is still excited to see everyone is an excellent time for kids to play with them and get them outdoors before they get at their homework.
  • If your dog enjoys sitting patiently for long periods of time, ask your kids to practice their reading, speeches or other class assignments with him. Dogs don’t judge and are the perfect audience for kids needing a little encouragement.  If our dogs see our kids getting stressed, they understand this and will sit closer to encourage the child or maybe bring a toy.

Our dogs will get used to the back-to-school routines, it just takes time.  Be patient and read your dog’s language and find what works for them.

Source: Bente Nielsen

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