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pet-webRISMEDIA, August 27, 2009-Back-to-school time creates a dramatic shift in family schedules, which can have a devastating impact on family pets that have spent more time with their owners over the summer vacation season.

PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance, which is committed to helping pet owners provide a lifetime of care for their pets, is urging all pet owners to be aware of the signs of post-summer separation anxiety in both dogs and cats. Pets suffering from post-summer stress can exhibit a wide range of abnormal behaviors as families return to school and work.

Signs of Post-Summer Separation Anxiety include:

-Hyper-salivation or drooling
-Soiling the pet owner’s belongings
-Chewing or scratching at doors or crate
-Non-stop howling, barking, meowing
-Compulsive grooming or licking
-Tearing up furniture or pushing items off counters

“Dogs are naturally social animals and especially sensitive to loneliness this time of year. The family fills the role of ‘the pack’ and in their absence; dogs can feel abandoned and become quite destructive,” says Dr. Bill Craig, DVM, Chief Medical and Underwriting Director of PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance. “Teaching dogs that their owners will return and the ‘pack’ will be reunited is the key to alleviating the stress of post-summer separation anxiety.”

Prepare your Pet for Post-Summer Routines:

-Wean them into new post-summer schedule. Give positive reinforcement with praise and treats for appropriate behavior
-Resume normal leash/walking schedules
-Take the drama out of leaving- grab your coat and keys at times when you are not leaving so your pet doesn’t connect the action with being alone
-Create a pet safe haven- a well-lit area where the family “pack” normally gathers, keep the TV or radio running, leave plenty of toys and safe clothing/items with family scents on them
-Don’t punish bad behavior related to anxiety; it will only reinforce the stress
-For pets with severe stress, medications are available. They will rarely work alone without a behavior modification regimen. A veterinarian must prescribe these drugs.

For more information, visit www.purinacare.com.

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