elmhurst-iStock_000045008956_LargeIt’s that time of year; shorter days, (slightly) cooler temps, trips to the store for pens, folders, notebooks, and new backpacks…back to school season is upon us again.

The start of a new school year is an exciting and stressful time for families, including the four-legged members. From struggling with the back-to-school-blues to the discovery of potential pet perils that may be lurking in your child’s backpack, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to help.

The Dog Days Are Over

If your pet spent his or her summer rolling in the grass and splashing in the lake with the kids, or lounging poolside with the grown-ups, water bowl in paw, the sudden disappearance of the pack may be startling or even downright depressing. Whether your pet is a newbie or a seasoned veteran of the back to school routine, watch out for the following signs of depression or separation anxiety:

  • Lack of energy or listlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiding or cowering
  • Searching through rooms or looking out of windows
  • House soiling
  • Excessive barking, howling, or whining
  • Destructive behavior
  • Frantic clawing or chewing at doors or windows
  • Helping Pets Adjust

    Get the whole family involved in helping your pet through this challenging time. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise in the mornings and evenings and provide him or her with a treat-filled Kong, safe chew toys, cat-tree, or other stimulating activities to engage in during the day.

    You might also consider enlisting the help of a friend, neighbor, or professional dog walking service to interact with your pup in the middle of the day. A few days each week at a doggie day care can be an excellent way to provide exercise and mental stimulation for your dog while the family is away.

    Please don’t forget the most important thing you can give your pet to help make the back to school transition a little easier: Love! Extra attention, snuggles, and one-on-one time with the human family members are key components in easing your pet into the new routine.

    Avoiding Back To School Toxins

    The back to school blues aren’t the only concern pet parents face as August ends and September begins. The appearance of backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, and purses in your foyer now that school is back in session bring with them a slew of potential toxic substances that may be irresistible to a curious pet.

    Food – The aroma of food seeping out of your child’s lunchbox will eventually make its way to your pet’s nose. Many common lunchbox items are actually toxic to pets including grapes, chocolate, raisins, certain nuts, and overly salty or processed foods.

    Xylitol –  Xylitol is a sweetener found in many sugar-free items such as mints, gum, children’s vitamins, baked goods,  peanut butter, and toothpaste. If ingested by your pet, Xylitol can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar or liver failure.

    Medications and other toxins – Prescription and over the counter medications, inhalers, and cigarettes can be interesting to pets. If eaten, these substances can cause an array of serious complications or even death.

    Keep your four-legged friends safe this school year by storing all backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, and purses safely out of reach.

    Call us right away if you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, or may need emergency services. The happiness of your pet is just as important to us as his or her physical health, so please come and see us for help if your pet is struggling with back to school blues.