Speed Reads

Man's best friend

Studies show dogs have 'separation anxiety' when kids leave for school

You're not imagining that sad look on Fido's face when September rolls around. Research suggests that a large portion of dogs in America experience separation anxiety when children go back to school.

Dr. Nick Dodman, a professor at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, told The Associated Press that dogs who are used to spending the summer months with children are upset when they no longer have their human pals to keep them company, citing studies.

How can you tell if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety? Dodman says to look for barking, howling, or whining. If your dog is really upset, he may scratch doors, tear curtains or damage your blinds. Try not to take too much anger out on him, though: He's likely feeling "abandoned, sad, and unable to cope."

In addition, Dodman says that almost half of dogs with separation anxiety also have noise phobias, which makes being alone at home even more difficult. He recommends testing out your routine before school starts, creating a special place in your home where your dog will feel safe, and talking to a vet if all else fails.