Does your pet vacation with you? A well-mannered dog is welcome in many places. If your dog is polite, you might want to take him along. Just be sure that the place you're going to is pet-friendly and that includes a relative's home.
For cats, it's a different story. While some felines do well traveling by car, by plane, or staying in hotels, most do best when they stay home with a pet sitter. Then again, my cat Sargent Pepper objects loudly when she sees my car, but also gets her tail in a twist when she's left behind.
Whether your pet has traveled with you, spent time in a pet motel, or spent vacation time at home with a sitter, the transition time upon your return can be traumatic. Your kids have a hard time dealing with the end of vacation, and so does your pet!
In France, where month-long summer vacations are common, the problem is particularly acute.
From Mother Nature News:
“Every time we get back from holiday, my cat, Katou, uses my bed as a litter tray for several days,” says Philippe Uzan, the proud owner of a Siamese.
Nana, a German Shepherd, refuses to eat from her bowl and ignores her owner, Monique Gastinel.
After several weeks romping along the beach, the sulking can last for days and, according to animal behavior expert Aline Auble, that's only to be expected.
“If a dog barks incessantly or chews the furniture when it gets back from a holiday, it is showing that it is missing having company and that it has the back-to-school blues,” Auble said.
Does all of this sound familiar? For both dogs and cats, animal professionals recommend trying to keep them occupied and stimulated during the long hours when you are at work and your children are at school.
Toys specially designed for animals can also help ward off the boredom that can spell danger for chair legs and shoes. If you have been vacationing with your pets, you need to get them back into their normal routine, just like getting your kids ready for back-to-school.
As with most people, pets tend to over-indulge on holiday and it's important to re-establish healthier eating patterns. For dogs especially, the snacks have to stop to prevent weight gain over the winter months.
What are some of the signs your pet might be suffering from post-vacation trauma?
Is your dog barking more? Whether she barks when you're leaving the house, coming home, or while you're just sitting trying to relax a bit after a long day, if your dog is barking more than normal, she is trying to communicate with you. The message she is trying to give you: “I need some attention and a way to release some energy.”
A Mess In The House
Even cats that do well in the owner's absence can surprise you. As soon as you come home, Kitty begins “spreading the joy” with creative potty-ing behavior, scratches, or acts fearful (and sometimes aggressive) toward beloved humans. Be patient. It takes some cats several days to readjust to an owner's return. Your cat isn't doing this out of meanness, so just give her some time.
And if you've noticed your dog is making more of a mess than previously, whether it's eliminating where he shouldn't, digging into the garbage while you're gone, or chewing on those Prada shoes that were hidden in your closet, an increase in behaviors like this is a key indicator your pet is not getting the attention and exercise he needs.
Unless our dog or cat exhibits negative behavior we don't particularly care for, we tend to think everything is fine. However, if your pet is lying around more, if you have to fight with him or her to go outside or to eat, this could be a problem with post-holiday blues.
Just like humans, pets need time and some TLC to get back into the routine after a vacation.