After a long and unusual summer, the fall season is now nearly upon us. Regardless of how things look this year for back-to-school or back-to-work protocols, a change will still happen. While most people focus on how that change will affect them, they rarely think about the impact that it will have on their pets. Studies concerning vet care for cats and dogs reveal that many pets become confused, suffer from separation anxiety, or exhibit other symptoms of anxiety whenever our schedules significantly change. Some pets showed signs of stress when their humans came home from school or work under the stay-at-home pandemic requirements. On the other end of the spectrum, it is anticipated that many pets will experience other anxieties when schedules return to normal. However, there are things that you can do to properly respond to seasonal changes, whether that means a new schedule at home or typical weather changes as we move from summer into fall and winter.
Veterinary Care in Massachusetts
As with anything else that impacts the health and wellbeing of your pet, your search for support and assistance should begin with a trip to your local veterinary clinic to receive a check-up and vet care for cats and dogs. Anchor Animal Hospital provides basic veterinary services, including vaccinations, preventive treatments, and emergency care. However, our team also provides a wide range of specialized options, including pain treatment, surgery, and advanced dentistry in Dartmouth. If you have a pet that has responded negatively to change in the past, you may want to consult with your veterinarian prior to anything new occurring in the household. There are prescription medications, training techniques, and care programs that can be used to lessen the blow, making things much easier for your pet to handle. However, not every pet will require extra support, so it’s good to know as much as you can about your cat or dog so you can consider whether additional help will be required.
What Changes Impact Pets?
The first thing you need to know is the type of changes in your household that might affect your pets. Moving to a new house, someone in the house moving out, or someone new moving in can all set some pets off and make them feel uncomfortable. While a visitor who comes and goes after a day or even a week is one thing, someone permanently moving in with all of their stuff can be overwhelming. Other changes can include simple schedule changes, such as a person switching from a 9-5 job to shift work or even making a change to remote working from going to an office each day. It might not be that they miss you because you’re gone, but now they are confused because you don’t leave. A new baby, a new pet of any kind, changes to outdoor exercise for dogs, such as walks or trips to the play park, all of these situations might create behaviors in your pet that are unfamiliar or new. Accidents, destructive behavior, excessive barking or whining – even howling – can all be symptoms of a pet who is not dealing well with change.
What About Seasonal Changes?
While there are some things that can be overcome easily by easing your pet into the “new normal,” there are others that can happen suddenly that are out of your control. Seasonal changes, such as weather changes and other incidents that may mean something new is happening to break the normal pattern of your household, definitely fall into that category. The fall season means the winding down of summer, which for many pets can mean extra time spent with their families outdoors, either on walks, at the park, at the beach, or even on vacation. Many pets enjoy all of that outdoor activity and might be upset to find out that many of those trips are no longer happening. Whether that means a seasonal change of back-to-school for the kids or just colder weather preventing outdoor activity, your dog likely does not care. All he knows is that you are no longer doing the things that he enjoyed doing, which could result in some negative behavior and anxiety.
What Can I Do to Reduce Seasonal Stress?
Try to prepare your pet gradually that change is coming. Even if you want to continue the daily summer activities of going to the beach, park, or for longer walks, try to reduce them as fall approaches to make it easier for your pets to handle. If your pet regularly becomes stressed by changes, seasonal or otherwise, consult with veterinary care in Massachusetts. Ask about other seasonal pet tips to provide effective vet care for cats and dogs, schedule an annual check-up during this time, and consider cleanings or advanced dentistry in Dartmouth to keep your pet healthy. Learn how to leave your home for work or school in a calm manner to ease separation anxiety, provide safe toys and other activities while you are gone, and create a comfortable space for your pet to relax and wait for your return. Start a new routine in response to other changes, such as a neighborhood walk right after you get home or try crate training as a calming method if you have concerns that your pet might hurt themselves in an anxious state while you are gone. Learn how to read your pet and understand the difference between excitement and anxiety. If you are not sure, consult with your trusted veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. We provide a wide range of professional services designed to keep your pets healthy and happy. Contact our team by calling 508-996-3731.