What should you do if you're working from home with pets?
Working from home with cats and dogs: top tips
Experts from Vets4Pets have provided their top recommendations on how to help your four-legged pet adapt with the new working arrangements if you have one in your home office.
While it may be difficult for people to adjust to spending more time at home, it may be equally difficult for dogs.
Disturbances in the normal routine, as well as a typically busy home, can induce stress and anxiety in animals.
"Many pets thrive with regularity and sometimes find a change of routine disturbing," said Dr Samantha Butler-Davies, veterinary clinical services manager at Vets4Pets.
"Whether you have an older or younger pet, it's conceivable that having people in the house for extended periods of time can overwhelm them or make them more dependant."
"Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help children prepare for a busier house. The most important thing is to introduce these as soon as possible to help them adjust rapidly, and using a pheromone diffuser will also help them relax."
stick to a schedule
Predictability may make cats and dogs feel less stressed, so it's a good idea to stick to a regular pattern they're used to.
Consider the following:
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule — Make sure you get up and go to bed at the same times every day. Your dog, or cat if you don't have a cat flap, will know when they'll be let in and out, as well as when they'll have their last toilet break of the evening.
- Maintain consistency with mealtimes - To prevent your pet from wondering when food will be served, stick to regular mealtimes. Also, try to avoid giving them extra sweets that they wouldn't ordinarily get during the day.
- Plan your exercise times - Take your dog for a walk or let them out at the same time every day to avoid them being worried about when they will be able to go outside.
- Remind them of their independence - If your pet gets some alone time during the day, make sure you mimic it by working in a separate room or giving them access to their bed or crate for the time they need.
Maintain their attention.
If your dogs are not permitted at your office, they may become confused if they are normally allowed near you at home.
When their owners are away, some cats and dogs may become bored and divert themselves by tearing apart soft furnishings, clawing furniture, or biting cabinet knobs, for example.
To avoid this, make sure your dogs have enough of boredom-busting puzzles and toys to keep them occupied while you're at work.
If you see indications of boredom and need assistance, go to your veterinarian, who should be able to provide more precise advice.
Keep an eye on the heating system.
You'll probably use your central heating a bit more than usual to keep the house warm throughout the day, but make sure it doesn't become too hot for your pet.
In an extremely hot environment, elderly or overweight pets might overheat, and flat-nosed dogs (brachycephalic breeds) require extra attention since they have a harder time panting, which is how they generally regulate their body temperature.
Fleas thrive in warm environments, so be sure to wash pet bedding and blankets on a 40-degree wash cycle on a frequent basis, as well as vacuuming the areas where they prefer to relax. Make sure your pet's flea and worm medications are up to date, as well.
On the other hand, if you're concerned about your pet becoming too chilly, make sure you have plenty of blankets and soft beds for them to snuggle into.
Make an effort not to make a fuss.
The more time you spend at home, the better your dog becomes at detecting tiny clues and signals that you're leaving, which might make them feel stressed and uncomfortable.
It's critical not to make a big deal when you leave or return to your pet to avoid this. Instead, welcome them gently once you've entered the house and stowed your keys, demonstrating that it's alright to be alone and making them feel more at ease.
If the working from home advice continues, use these ways to help your pet enjoy the experience.