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Humane Society of Greater Rochester

Amidst the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 in our communities, many 9-to-5-ers have made the decision to start working from home in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and promote social distancing. For pet owners, this means spending the work day with your furry friends! From cats on keyboards to dogs delivering toys in the hopes of a game of fetch, there are many ways that working from home with pets can alter your standard work day. We’ve compiled a list of tips for those of you sharing your work space with a furry friend.

Keeping your pets busy when you’re busy

Does your cat keep pawing at your hand while you’re trying to send an email? Is your dog barking to go outside and play because he’s not used to you being home all afternoon? Just like working from home has changed the course of your normal work day, it’s an adjustment for your pets, too. Consider setting up activities to keep your pets mentally stimulated while you’re hard at work.

There are lots of ways to keep your pets engaged while you’re working from home!

This could include preparing frozen Kongs for dogs to work on throughout the day, or putting out puzzle toys filled with treats for your pets as a fun challenge.

Don’t have a Kong or puzzle toy at home? Consider using paper towel tubes as a substitute! Just fold in one end, fill with a tasty treat, fold in the other end, and freeze! Or, fill with loose kibbles and fold in both ends for a fun challenge.

For nosy cats that want to share your keyboard time, consider setting up a bird feeder outside of one of your home’s windows. Watching birds will keep your cat busy and engaged, and it’s great for wildlife, too! No windows where a bird feeder could be set up? You can also find bird videos for cats online that can be viewed on a TV or iPad.

Cats love sitting on keyboards – it’s a scientific fact. Consider ways to keep your feline friend otherwise occupied while you work!

Learn something new and keep your pets mentally stimulated 

Learning new tricks with your pets will keep them active and engaged, and it’s fun, too! Check out our positive reinforcement training challenge. Each video with one of our Behavior & Training experts at Lollypop Farm challenges you to try a new trick, practice, or behavior with your pet. You can try a new one every day!

If you learn a new trick or training method with your pet, take a video and send it to Lollypop Farm’s Facebook for the chance to be featured!

Keep pets safe and comfortable when working from home 

If you’re setting up a home office, there are a few things to keep in mind in regards to your pet’s safety. Make sure to secure or tuck away any new computer chords or phone cords that you are introducing into the home environment, especially if your pet isn’t used to them being there. Chewing of cords could result in electrocution or could start a fire. Make sure that any office supplies that may be dangerous to pets if consumed are kept out of reach – tacks, rubber bands, paper clips, and the like could be harmful if swallowed.

Make your pet comfortable in your home work space! Consider bringing in a cat tower so that your feline friend has somewhere comfy to sit and watch you work, or put a dog bed under your desk so your pup can stay close.

Make time for your pet – take walks, play fetch, they’ll thank you for it!

Be Flexible 

Sure, you’ve got a lot to do while working from home. But, your pet’s daily routine has now been altered. Whereas they might sleep on the couch all day, they’ll probably now want to play! Consider waking up a little earlier than usual to take your dog for an extra-long walk, or building in designated play time throughout the day. Taking a few minutes to stand up, stretch, and throw a toy around for your pet will benefit your productivity, too.

Working from home with pets can be a challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun! Having animals around can reduce stress and breaks up the monotony of an 8-hour day. Plus, if you’re having a hard time finding ways to keep your pets at home stimulated, we’re here to help! Call our Pet Peeves Behavior Helpline at 585-285-2999 to speak with trained behavior professionals that can provide tips and tricks for keeping your furry friends busy.