Over the last year and a half, the way that you work has likely changed – perhaps even several times. Maybe you started working from home full time, then went back to the office for a bit, then decided on a mix of at home and the office. If this whole back-and-forth way of working was confusing for you, just imagine how your pet felt!
Believe it or not, your work can have a big impact on your pet’s life. Depending on the age of your pet, they may have grown up with you being constantly at home with them, so anything other than that is going to come as a huge shock. Even more mature pets can feel a bit of anxiety when faced with sudden change – regardless if it’s back to something that was once normal to them.
This has left many pet parents wondering what they can do to help their pets handle changes in their work schedules. To help answer this, we’ve put together a list of a few tried and true methods of helping even the most anxious pet adjust to change.
Pets do best when they have structured, predictable routines. We know that given this new way of working, every day might not look the same in terms of how you work, but there are little things you can do to add structure. Whether you’re working at home or the office, schedule time in your morning to do a few specific things with your pet. A great option is to start with feeding them their favorite Freshpet recipe at a specific time, followed by some quality time spent together. This could be in the form of a walk around your neighborhood, a trip to the dog park, or even a play session with their favorite toy at home.
By putting in place a routine that has nothing to do with your work schedule, your pet will be able to anticipate what will happen when they wake up every day. This familiarity will give them a sense of comfort and should make it less stressful for them on the days that you do leave to go work at the office.
A good habit to get into while you’re working from home is to ensure that your pet has some alone time. Setting up a pet-free workspace at home allows you to keep a clear division between where you work and where your pet plays. Not only does this help your productivity, but it helps your pet understand that when you’re at that spot, you won’t be paying attention to them. This forces them to get comfortable with being “alone” even if you’re still in the house. If you don’t have a workspace where you have the luxury of closing the door to keep your pet out, use a crate or pen to create a special spot for them to hang out while you work.
In both setups, you’ll want to make sure that they have plenty of ways to occupy themselves while they’re alone. A great way to do this is to have a special stash of toys – such as a kong filled with their favorite Freshpet treat – reserved for these times.
As amazing as it would be if we could bring our pets to work with us, this is rarely the case. The next best thing you can do is invest in a pet cam so you can check in on them throughout the day. If you want to do more than simply watch your pet, there are several cameras on the market that have interactive features, like treat tossing and laser toys.
If you’re interested in a pet cam, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve put together a list of six that are perfect for every budget and preference.
If you’re heading back to the office for the first time, talk to your work about the possibility of doing it a few days at a time to start. This is especially important for young or newly adopted pets who have never experienced you working full-time at the office. Most animals are quite adaptable so by making this a slow transition – paired with other tools like creating a standard morning routine – they should quickly adjust.
If you think that your pet would do best with some company throughout the day, look into doggie daycares or in-home pet sitters in your area. Choosing to go this route can be a great choice for both your pet and yourself because you’ll be able to better focus on work when you know your pet isn’t stressed. If this is your first time using a pet sitter, take a look at our guide for finding a top-notch one.
We hope these tips will help make it easier for both you and your pet to adjust to any work-related changes.