Pet owners will be leaving more than their comfortable casual clothing behind when COVID pandemic restrictions ease. Their beloved animal companions, accustomed to curling at their feet during Zoom calls or taking lunchtime walks, will find themselves alone at home when their owners return to their offices.
This transition will be jarring for both the pets and their humans who love them. More than half of pet owners report they feel guilty leaving their pets behind, but there are steps you can take to ease the stresses on both of you. Here, five ways to make the transition a more paws-itive experience:
1. Start Your Day Earlier
Take a good long walk before work. The exercise will help burn off some of your dog’s energy. A tired dog is more likely to spend at least part of his day napping rather than missing you. A morning walk also reinforces your bond and can help reduce your anxieties as well. A few minutes of playtime with your cat can also help reduce feline anxieties.
2. Check In With a Checkup
Schedule an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian. This is a good time to monitor your pet’s overall health, while you have the time and in advance of a new phase. Medications are available for serious separation anxiety; make sure your vet knows about your change in routine so you can receive the best professional advice.
3. Take Advantage of Flexibility
In a survey conducted before the pandemic, more than half of companies said they offered some form of flexible employee scheduling. It’s expected that post-COVID, flexible working arrangements will be the new normal with many more companies. With that in mind, you may have the flexibility to schedule a longer lunch break to check in with your pet and make up that time later in the day or continue to work remotely a couple of days each week.
4. Keys, Briefcase, Buddy
Yes, take your pet to work, every day! A growing number of companies offer this option, so it never hurts to ask. Pet-friendly offices have been shown to ease stress, create bonds between co-workers, and offer a different perspective, which is always welcome in an office environment.
5. It Takes a Village
A good dog walker is a pet owner’s best friend. The dog walking industry is growing each year, so you should have plenty of options. Begin your search while you’re still working from home. Make sure your dog is comfortable with the person you have chosen. A less energetic pet could still benefit from some human companionship, even while lounging on the couch. Have a friend or relative who is out of work and already formed a bond with your four-legged buddy? You may have found their new pet project.
Remember: You’re working to build a happy life not only for you but for your pet as well. Place a framed picture of your favorite animal on your office desk for inspiration and for smiles to brighten a stressful day. You know someone is eagerly awaiting your return home, ready for your attention and happy to give you unconditional love.
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