Jun 9, 2021 - Things to Do

6 tips for helping your pet adjust when you return to the office

A dog stands on its hind legs looking out the window

Pepper looks out the window for his human. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Like it or not, many of us will return to the office soon. The ones who may like it the least: our pets.

  • Now is the time to get them (and you) prepared for the transition, animal experts say.

Why it matters: When our pandemic-imposed routines change, dogs and cats can act out and misbehave.

  • Denver Animal Protection is worried that will lead to an increase in people giving their pets to shelters.

Here are six tips to help our furry companions, courtesy of Erin Wyse, an animal behaviorist:

  1. Create a new routine: Begin a walking and feeding schedule that matches your in-person work day. And "slowly wean them off your constant company," Wyse says.
  2. Start gradually: Before leaving them alone all day, try a few hours and then slowly increase the time. (If possible, begin acclimating them a month in advance.) A treat on the way out the door will "condition your pet to find it rewarding when you leave," she says.
  3. Keep them entertained: A toy or foraging for treats can keep them from becoming bored. The TV or music also may work. Pets also feel less lonely if they can look outside.
  4. Exercise: A good walk to burn off energy before you go is key.
  5. Keep calm: Pets can pick up on your anxiety, so be low-key in saying goodbye, Wyse says.
  6. Reach out: The vet can help you with a trainer and prescribe medication if needed.

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