Does your pet have 'post-vacation blues'? Here's how to tell

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?

Incessant Barking

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.

Acting Sluggish

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.

  1. 10 years ago
    Bobby A.

    We went on a short 4 day vacation to Iowa for the holidays. My dog was amazing on the trip. Very well behaved. Did not bark at everyone passing in the hall while in the room. Being on vacation I got to spend a great deal of time with him. Hikes, special treats, even pretended he was my anxiety dog and we took him to Macaroni Grill for a family dinner. When we went to a birthday party at a bounce house he was treated to a 1/2 day spa treatment.

    Now we are home. I work, he is not getting the attention he received on vacation. He is very demanding since our return home.

  2. 11 years ago
    Katherine W.

    The one thing I am certain of is that animals are loving and feeling creatures, moreso than many people. So it would make sense that animals are totally capable of suffering post vacation blues just like us humans. They definitely react to our moods. Why not?

  3. 11 years ago
    Beth W.

    Whenever I came home from vacation my cat's initial reaction would be to rush up to me, then turn around and walk away, with an attitude of "oh, it's you". Then shortly after be very needy for attention and praise.

    • 11 years ago
      paul m.

      No ,,,when I go away , she has a better time, or so , that's what she wants me to think,..

    • 6 years ago

      My 2 kitties are so happy to see us they are stuck to us for a day or problems thank god so far, I so hate to leave my munchie man

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *