As Covid recedes from the borders of the world, and the long saga of working from home gradually comes to an end for many employees, a new concern arises on pet owners’ doorsteps: How to deal with pets who are used to having their parents around them all day at their disposal and calls?
Separation anxiety is real and has been spotted in both pets and their owners in recent months. This phenomenon is more common in “quarantine animals,” which refers to pets that were adopted during the 2020-2021 quarantine period and therefore didn’t see much life without their owners at home.
But unless you're able to get a permanent work-from-home job and/or can afford a pet sitter, being separated from your pet during the 9-5 a day is inevitable (and not all office spaces offer a pet daycare center). We are here to ease your troubles and make your pets' time at home more enjoyable.
Dogs, being more active, happier and social group pets, are more prone to separation anxiety compared to other pets. They are mostly "pets", outgoing, and love being surrounded by their humans. So, it gets a little tricky when a human has to leave them alone and head to work for the full 8 hours of the day.
Here are some ways you can keep your pets engaged while you're away.
You don't need to buy expensive dispenser toys but you can make a few at home. Welovepets.co.uk suggests freezing ice cubes and hiding a few candy or gravy bones in one or two of them and spreading them around the house. It's a great way to keep your dogs busy when they find these fuzzy things on the floor. They will play with them, lick them (thereby adding water), and at the end, they may also be surprised by a small reward.
It takes 10-15 minutes of prep time and is an excellent way to pet three birds with one hand (in this house, we don't condone violence against birds, even in idioms and proverbs).
Another DIY trick is to hide toys (or other things your dogs like) around the house. Most dogs are curious creatures and will wander around the house in your absence. Few of these places could also hold a treat. It is suggested that you practice this game once or twice with your dog and set a standard start so that when you go to work you can start the game and leave, and your dog will know what happens and what to do next.
Dogs thrive among companies. It might be a little more expensive (but it's not a bad idea) to still adopt a second dog to keep your older child company. We realize this may not be a feasible option for everyone, but if you have the means, this is always a good way to go.
In life we are always ready to encourage people to adopt more (not buy)!
for your feline friends
When it comes to keeping them engaged, pet owners don't have as many challenges when it comes to cats as they are to dogs. This is probably because cats are naturally aloof, like to keep to themselves, and are pretty independent. However, this doesn't apply to every cat, and regardless, it's never a good idea to come up with options for activities for your cats to indulge in (of course, only if you're tired of pestering pigeons on the window sill of your neighborhood building).
Boxes made of cardboard
Cats and Their Empty Boxes is a love story told over and over again. Place several parcel boxes around the house (and maybe fill one or two of them with a light sheet or blanket), and let your cats roam, find, and curl up inside.
Given the difficulty of domesticating cats, it is always a good idea to invest in (or perhaps build) cat-specific furniture. These may include cat trees and scratching posts, which will provide your cats with plenty of entertainment while you're at work.
Another investment would be to get puzzle toys (for the more curious cats) where they have to solve puzzles (very suitable puzzles for cats) to reveal candy or wet food.
Other methods that will work for both cats and dogs
Put cat or dog videos on youtube, such as birds chirping, mice running, vegetables dancing, etc., and let your pets enjoy it.
Soothing ambient sounds can help your pets relax, calm their nerves, and help them fall asleep.
If possible, try to keep a window for them to look into the hustle and bustle of the outside world (this is where your cats will likely spend most of their time).
Start your day with a high level of activity so the child will be relaxed by the time you leave for work and go to bed for a more relaxed day.