When you think of the back-to-school season what immediately comes to mind are the essentials children need — notebooks, pencils, new school shoes, lunch boxes, and more. We have come to rely on this seasonal transition with its excitement and regularity. But, this year’s back-to-school season may go down as the strangest and most up-ended yet. In a word, uncertainty comes to mind.
Across the nation, school and school district leaders are making decisions based on local data, Centers for Disease Control guidelines and surveying parents. Many schools are opening for brick-and-mortar education and students are heading back, only to find full classrooms and “cohorts” quarantining after COVID-19 positive cases have sprung up. The uncertainty is causing households added stress as parents — who often have full-time jobs working from home — are balancing the desire to get their kids back to school, safely.
Stress is contagious and all this turmoil and uncertainty is felt by everybody in the household, including our dogs. They have a keen sense of the seasonal schedule…they know when fall is in the air and that those two-legged little family members are supposed to head out of the home for the day. Even the historical, regular transition of the back-to-school season can trigger anxiousness in our pets. But now, some kids go off to school…and then they boomerang back and the home is once again serving as the office, the school, the playground, the lunchroom and the gym. Our pups are puzzled — where did our old schedule go?
About 70 percent of Americans believe schools should open in the fall, according to an Associate Press poll. Amid the uncertainty, parents are struggling with the decision of how to educate their children in the 2020-21 academic season.
Again, there’s that word, uncertainty.
There is a direct correlation between uncertainty and stress.
This Forbes.com article notes that one of the hardest things in life is not knowing what’s coming down the pike. A recent study published in Nature Communications found that most people would rather know for certain that they’re going to get an electric shock upon their body than to not be able to predict it. According to news-medical.net, there is a direct correlation between uncertainty and stress.
As humans, we have a need for certainty! Without it we can feel anxiousness…and that can project right onto our dogs.
Public radio outlet, CapRadio.org, reports that when there are many changes — pet parents now working from home, the dog park being closed, or children not going to school — dogs, too, can lose their coping mechanisms. Plus, our anxiety can trickle down to them. Anxiousness in dogs might manifest in barking, biting, chewing, howling and pacing — all signs of stress that quite frankly, stress out the humans too.
Unlike humans, they can’t talk it out. It’s no fun to see a dog in distress — we want our dogs calm, safe and happy!
So, here some tips to help our dogs cope:
- Maintain a routine and stick to it. According to PetCoach, if a dog’s day is more predictable, this can help reduce stress.
- Give them space. If they normally are in a kennel during the day when you and the kids are at work and school, consider continuing this routine.
- Don’t melt down in front of them. If you feel anxiousness coming, move to another room where your dog can’t see or hear you.
- Considering natural calming solutions that don’t make your dog groggy or fuzzy.
Check out our CBD calming solutions for dogs, which are based on Broad Spectrum CBD with no appreciable THC, along with a patent-pending BotaniTek™ formula that includes additional premium ingredients known to have calming effects on dogs.
Share your family’s stress story below. It might make you feel better just to share and get it out there.