Back to School Blues: How It Affects Your Canine Companion

The changes that occur in the family home as summer fades into fall can be the most dramatic of all the season changes.  The lazy days of summer have been replaced with busy, routine-filled work weeks and school days. This transition can affect every member in your family, including your pet.

During the summer months when the kids are home from school, your family dog has had lots of attention and companionship.  Come September that all changes. Since dogs are pack animals, it’s not surprising that a dog experiences anxiety at being left home alone.  At Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, we get lots of calls from concerned or frustrated owners who have come home to a destroyed house and a stressed dog.  The good news is most dogs can learn to remain home alone calmly for reasonable lengths of time. Conditioning your dog to be able to do this is a real kindness to your pet.

Separation anxiety in dogs is the fear of isolation which results in undesirable behaviors such as inappropriate defecation/urination in the home, excessive barking, destructive chewing and even depression. Puppies having housetraining accidents or going through the normal stages of chewing while developing their teeth are not experiencing separation anxiety. It is important to know the differences during the training process.

Getting your dog used to being left alone without anxiety ideally starts at puppyhood. Training your dog the skill of resting calmly in a crate will never again be as easy to learn as in puppyhood. Some people are hesitant to use the crate routinely, but it is a good idea during the early stages while conditioning your pup. You never know what might be ahead in your dog’s life that will make a crate an absolute necessity. Dogs that require routine grooming, travel by plane, veterinary care, emergency evacuation during disasters, kenneling or staying as a guest in a home that has other animals are all situations where you could suddenly need a crate. All of these scenarios can be considered stressful for your dog and these are not the ideal times to start crate training.  Crate training should be fun and should be taken slowly, never forced upon. The crate should not be used as a punishment tool but rather seen by your dog as a “safe place”. Most dogs who have been successfully trained look to their crate to relax in or to get away from stressful situations and disturbances in the home.  While the crate can be an ideal tool for combating destructive anxiety behaviors such as chewing and house soiling, other ways your dog may express separation anxiety is vocally. This includes loud barking, whining and even all out screaming.  Running to your pup every time it screams after being left alone will only encourage this instinct. To avoid this problem, always wait until the pup is quiet before you go to it.

A great method for treating/preventing separation anxiety involves planned departures which gradually adjusts your dog to being left alone. This is good to do leading up to the kids going back to school. Start with small intervals. Stress responses can occur within the first 30 minutes of leaving your dog alone. By leaving your dog for just a couple minutes at a time you have ensured your return before the onset of anxiety. Once you are satisfied your dog was not stressed during your short time away, you can start to increase the intervals. Try creating a positive environment during your absence. Providing a treat or special toy only when leaving, gives your dog something to look forward to. Don’t forget to remove that special toy when you return home.

If you are experiencing a dog with separation anxiety or getting a new puppy and want to learn how to avoid issues with separation anxiety a good place to start is by asking your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for advice.

Submitted be Van Isle Veterinary Hospital






Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

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Last updated: July 5, 2021

Dear Clients,

At this time, we will be maintaining our current health and safety policies as the province entered the next stage of on July 1, 2021.

Note: We will not be making changes to our health and safety policy until our staff have had the opportunity to receive their second vaccine.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

As you can imagine, we have a significant backlog of surgeries and wellness/vaccine exams to catch up on and we will be working hard over the next several weeks to do just that. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience while we work through this. Although restrictions have been lifted, our health and safety protocols have not. It is important we continue to follow the guidelines set out by Worksafe BC and social distance our large team as much as possible. This means although we can offer these elective services, we are doing much fewer during the day than we were pre-COVID.


As of July 7, 2021, we are excited to invite our clients back into the exam rooms! We have put some important safety measures in place to help keep our clients and our team safe.


The use of our online store for easy ordering, payment and delivery of our pet's food, flea and tick medications. Orders over $100 can be delivered to your home for free! CLICK HERE


During the first 8 weeks of COVID, we were operating as a 24-hour facility to better serve our community and to maintain social distancing within our team. However, as the COVID-19 situation changes, so do we!

Our team of doctors felt it was important to get back to performing your pet's much needed regular services. In order to do so safely, we had to once again change the way we do business. 

As such, effective October 6, 2020, we will no longer be available for after-hours, on call services between midnight and 7:00 am. After-hours emergency care will be referred to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital between the hours of midnight - 7:00 am. They can be reached at 250-933-0913.

We will continue to be available until midnight for your call-in, after hours needs.

Our regular hours of operation remain the same:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

We are all looking forward to this next stage in our Province’s reopening and the future is looking bright! Thank you for helping us make this transition as safe as possible, so our team can be at its best and continue to look after your pet!

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital