Routines for Pets, Even When Working From Home

Nicole Bode, CVT
Veterinary Information Specialist
Pet Poison Helpline

We’re all well aware of what’s going on currently with COVID-19 and how this is affecting our everyday lives. In some instances employers are asking employees to work from home and those of us with pets know that, while great for the pets and for our morale, this may be a bit of a challenge for those new to the situation. Here are a few tips to follow to get yourself and your pets acclimated to the changes in routine.

  • Have specific exercise times in place, definitely before your shift, and some sort of exercise or outside time during your shift. Your pet will be tired from the exercise and most likely want to nap which allows you to get some work done.
  • Set up a feeding schedule around your new home office hours to allow the pet time to eat, go to the restroom and get some exercise in.
  • Make a safe, cozy spot in your office for them. Clear the area of wires, computer equipment, books and other supplies. Bring their bed or a comfy blanket in to the office for them.
  • Keep specific boundaries in place. Allowing the pet into the office at their own choosing can lead to issues with whining or crying when they are shut out, perhaps when you’re on an important call. If they do whine or scratch at the door to be let in, ignore the behavior.
  • Make sure you pet stays entertained. Keeping some quiet and mentally stimulating toys in the office can help keep your pet entertained and quiet while you’re working.  Puzzle toys and toys with frozen peanut butter or yogurt in them can keep dogs entertained for quite some time, just use them sporadically so as not to increase calorie intake.
  • Try to keep a similar schedule for each day so the pet is more comfortable and can get into a routine more quickly.

We think most people will love this perk of working from home, and your pets certainly will appreciate the extra one-on-one time. Taking some extra time for all to adjust to the changes will make this a smooth transition!