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Changes to routines can cause stress for pets

Back-to-school time can bring changes to a home’s schedule, in terms of meals, exercise routines and more. Pets are creatures of habit, and small schedule changes can sometimes lead to big upsets in behavior.

With dogs, separation anxiety is a disorder that can lead to stress, destruction of home, or even self trauma like broken teeth. At its core, separation anxiety is all about the reunion: our dogs literally can’t wait to be reunited! Even if that means they have to tear through a little drywall. We can unintentionally fan the flames of their anxiety if we amp up the reunion too much. It’s best to downplay the immediate reunion until your dog calms down, then shower them with affection and attention.

With cats, our furry overlords can be perplexing in what they interpret as stressful. For example, a bald eagle soars overhead, no problem; but if their human is suddenly home all day on Zoom meetings, they stop using the litter box. When the mortals head back to school, it creates change that can bring stress, and suddenly backpacks or clothes become the new litter box. Make sure kitty’s litter box is large, deep and far from loud noises and traffic. Use unscented, clumping litter; clean it daily and change it weekly.

Sometimes medical and behavioral issues are closely tied. For your pet’s health and comfort, reach out to your veterinarian for advice.


In partnership with Willamette Veterinary Hospital

& Ark Animal Hospital

Josiah Moses, DVM Eastgate Veterinary Clinic


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