Our daily lives have drastically changed over the last couple of months with working from home due to the Coronavirus. This is also true for our wonderful dogs and cats. They may be enthusiastic about us being home more and want to play all day, or some may become stressed and long for their once quiet, interrupted nap time.
We love staying home with our pets and having the opportunity to throw the ball a bit more during our work day. However, with client calls and zoom video chats, some pet parents are finding it difficult to maintain a productive level of work from home with their pet pawing at them for attention. It can definitely be a challenge.
My husband and our dog are the perfect example. He takes business calls all day and sometimes needs me to distract them from begging to play to barking at every day noises.
Here's what I do to make working from home with the dogs a little bit easier for him.
How to Work From Home With Your Pet:
Keep A Regularly Scheduled Routine
One of the most important things you can do when making the switch to working from home is to maintain you and your pet's normal daily schedule and routines. Continuing doing your normal self care routines is so important for your mental health, as well as for your furbaby's.
Continue getting up at your normal time. Take the pets out potty at the normal times they go, give them breakfast as you typically would, and walk them during their normal walk times.
This consistent schedule will bring relief to your baby. Pets love schedules and routines and can be overwhelmed by changes. By keeping things the same as much as possible, you'll help lower stress levels in your pet.
And make sure you take your normally scheduled human breaks too as if it were a normal workday! It's hard to do when the work/home life line gets blurred, but it is so important.
If you feel weird taking a break at home, why not use those breaks for consistent playtime breaks for your baby? Or take them for a short walk.
Maintain A Separate Workspace
Another thing you should do if possible is make sure that your new home workspace is safe and tucked away from the main living spaces of the home. Ensure that all chords are out of the way so no pets wander off with chords attached to them. Also be sure to have them puppy proofed and out of the way of chewing baby teeth. Try to avoid your cat's fave nap areas so they won't feel put out.
Ideally, having your office in a room where you can shut the door is best. This way if a client calls, you can throw a toy out of the room and shut the door while you're on the call.
After years of partially working from home, I've also found that having a space where I only work helps me be more productive. My brain understands that when I am in this space, only work happens here. That way I can "clock out" at the end of my work day and close the door behind me.
This way your pet will also get used to you being in this workplace so they can resume their napping routine in their normal comfortable spots that aren't too loud or distracting for them.
Keeping Your Pet Busy While You Work
Your dog or cat might want to snuggle in your lap while you work, which is great and oh so comforting. But sometimes you'll find them pawing at you for attention in the middle of a conference call in which play time is not an option.
Or maybe they are barking up a storm at the mailman outside while you are hyper focused on a phone call with a client.
Pets love having things to do that mentally stimulates them- it's so much fun! Give your pet a task to accomplish while you check off your work to-do list.
How to keep your pet occupied and mentally stimulated while you have to work:
Keep a toy basket near your work station and give them a chewtoy when it's time to make a call
Give your dog a stuffed frozen Kong to keep their mind pre-occupied.
Have a treat dispensing toy stuffed with kibble & treats at the ready
Make use of pet puzzles & other mentally stimulating and interactive toys (games in which your pet has to figure out which actions to take to get the goodie)
Give them a Licki Mat with some peanut butter on it
Give them a wobbly kong mixed with kibble and some treats
If you're desperate, give them a dental chew. I recommend only giving one or two a day at most to avoid gastrointestinal upset
Give your cat a box with some toys thrown in it (maybe even have them dangled through the holes you make in the top of the box)
Keeping Your Pet's Energy Level Down
In addition to the suggestions above, you can also try these fun options to keep your pets' overall energy level down.
Regular play sessions throughout the day (ideally planned around your breaks)
Run around outside with them whenever safe and possible
Play fetch, tug, chase, etc to get them moving around
Short or long walks outside
Tire your cat out with a cat wand toy
Practice basic obedience training or fun tricks.
A great way to hone your dog's scent skills is to go in the other room, hide treats around an area and let them have a blast finding them!
After you've let them burn off energy, I bet they'll be ready for a nap!
I hope this guide to working from home with your dogs and cats has helped you better navigate a balance between home and work life.
It may take a while for society to get back to normal, but we will all get there together.
Thanks for reading. Please share this post with friends and family who are working from home.