Holidays are a change in the whole family’s routine, obviously also including pets. Believe it or not, though, holidays aren’t great for everyone. Therefore, just as you have to get ready for heading away in the summer, you need to make the return back home as gentle as possible.
After spending so much time at home doing activities with you practically all day long, overnight your pets are left home alone again. Being separated again and without so much attention can lead to previously unseen behavioural problems, such as non-stop barking, chewing objects or furniture, and so on. They’re probably just trying to get our attention. A good alternative is to keep them busy with activities like intense physical exercise, interactive toys (such as ones that hide food), etc.
Sometimes, dogs can display separation anxiety when the return to routine is sudden and this can make them feel less secure or emotionally unbalanced.
The most frequent signs fall into three groups: excessive vocalisation, constipation and destructiveness. It’s important to detect these disorders as quickly as possible and go to the vet. If you can prevent them, all the better. That’s why an adaptation process should be carried out.
Progressive return home
On holiday, the days are laid-back for everyone: walks are longer, diet isn’t controlled as much as usual, the dog can sleep on the bed, etc. After all, it’s a holiday and everybody likes to take it easy. However, this could become a problem when you’re back to the routine if you find it hard to instil good habits again. Whenever possible, you should start gradually introducing some changes about two or three days before the daily routine kicks in again:
• Take shorter walks.
• Feed the animal with their usual diet rich in antioxidants at regular times.
• Take obedience seriously again.
This will make sure that the return to routine isn’t so abrupt. Even though you want to make the most of your holidays, it’s best not to return home without some time to re-acclimatise. Try to head back a few days earlier to get back into the routine, go back to usual times, adapt walks and diets, control habits and play time again, give them a little bit less attention, and so on.
Behavioural specialists recommend regulated interactions with orders so that they know what’s going to happen at any given time: “walkies”; “let’s play around”; “time to eat”; “time for cuddles”, etc. And also that your dog has what he or she needs every day, even if it’s for less time. Radical changes trigger a lot of stress.
Animals, just like people, need their time to adapt. If the change in behaviour continues for too long, though, it’s a good idea to check with your vet.