5 Signs Your Dog Has Back to School Separation Anxiety and How to Manage It

Battling back to school sadness for pets


In September, when vacations are over and kids head back to school, your dog will have to adjust to a new schedule. Dogs are a social animal by nature. The stark difference from enjoying endless days of frolicky fun and developing a strong bond with the kids all summer to the sudden back to school momentum of fall may spark the uneasiness of an empty and quiet house for your pets. This change in routine can cause your dog to suffer from separation anxiety or depression—to miss your kids—and even follow them to school.


No one knows for sure if dogs suffer from clinical depression like humans, but we certainly know they can experience mood and behavior changes. Here are 5 behavior changes that may indicate your dog is suffering from the blues of separation anxiety.

  1. Different eating habits (usually lack of an appetite)
  2. Obsessive barking
  3. Chewing furniture or pillows
  4. House soiling
  5. Pacing or hiding


  1. If it’s not too late, prep your dogs for being alone for short periods of time instead of leaving her alone cold turkey.
  2. Exercise your dog before you leave. Exercise your dog when you come home. These activities will build new routines that your dog will look forward to.
  3. Try not have highly emotional departures and greetings. Prolonged goodbyes and exciting welcome homes will amp up your dog’s anxiety when you are gone.
  4. If you are going to be gone for more than 8 hours, consider doggy daycare.
  5. Leave sturdy interactive toys to occupy your dog while you are out. Take the time to figure out which toys stimulate your dog the most. Not all dogs are the same, some like chewable stuff, some like crinkle noises, some like squeaky noises. For some dogs, a simple ball is all it takes.

Be sure to check with your veterinarian to have your dog fully evaluated and correctly diagnosed before trying to manage these symptoms. There may be an underlying medical condition that may be misconstrued as separation anxiety.
Gresham Animal Hospital is equipped to provide the service and treatment your pet needs under one roof. Keep Gresham Animal Hospital in mind next time your dog or cat needs a checkup, shots, or vaccines. Give us a call at 503.666.1600 to schedule an appointment today.

“You’ll see how much we know, and you’ll know how much we care.”

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