Back to the Office: What to Do When Your Pet Is Pining Away for You

With much of the workforce returning to in-office hours, pet owners everywhere are facing a universal problem: what should they do to help their pet adjust to no longer having them at home all day? Many pets have gotten accustomed to having their owner(s) at home 24/7 over the last year and a half, especially those who were bought/adopted during the pandemic and have never known life at home alone. We understand that this puts a strain on you and on your furry friend. We have a few tips that might help both of you ease into this new routine with less stress and anxiety.

  • Start small. If you know you are returning to the office ahead of time, start making plans to leave your pet for short periods of time, and then increase the time each time you leave. Run to the store or grab a cup of coffee, leaving them for only 20 or 30 minutes the first time and see how they do. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re gone, and let them get used to seeing you leave, keeping themselves busy (but not destructive!) while you’re gone, and develop the trust that you’ll come back each time.
  • Provide distractions. A pet that is bored or anxious can easily become destructive. If you don’t prepare ahead of time, you could come back from your first day in the office to find ripped up paper, potty accidents, torn furniture, dispersed garbage, and more. Providing your pet with mental stimulation while you’re gone will not only prevent destructive behavior, but provide fun entertainment and enrichment for them. Choose toys that provide ongoing entertainment like puzzles or balls that hold treats, toys with motion and/or timers, and toys that are easily manipulated and enjoyed without human interaction. Remember too that all dangerous items (cleaning products, medication, etc.), breakable items, and anything off limits to your pet should be locked away before you leave.
  • Provide calming reassurance. If your pet is used to noise and activity in your home throughout the day, do your best to keep their routine as close to normal as possible. Continue to feed them on schedule if you can, leave a tv or radio on during the day to provide background noise, and make sure they have easy access to their needed bathroom areas/food and water/and sleeping space. Don’t forget, you’ll need to plan on extra time with your pet in the evenings since they aren’t getting face-to-face hours during the day. Be ready to take a walk with them or head out into the back yard with a ball or a frisbee when you return from work. Cats enjoy having some time to snuggle up on the couch with you at the end of a long day. As long as they still feel like they got attention and hands-on interaction each day, the new routine shouldn’t be too difficult to master.
  • Pay for help at the beginning. If you don’t think your pet can handle being left alone for a full work day, and you can’t make it home on a lunch break to let them outside or check on them, consider hiring a friend, neighbor, or pet-sitter to stop in once a day and check on them for you. Having someone to make sure they’re behaving themselves, give them a potty break, and offer a quick pat, treat, and/or word of assurance will give you and your pet the peace of mind you need to make it through this transition period.

We hope these ideas help you as you and your pet(s) get into a new workday groove. Of course, the best way to protect your pet is with coverage through Carroll Marshall Insurance. Pet insurance not only provides assistance with emergency medical needs, but can also help with routine care costs, preventatives, and more, depending on your specific plan. If you have questions about coverage for your pet, we’re here to help. Call our office or stop by our location in Downtown Winter Haven!

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