Wellness, a pet food brand under Tewksbury-based WellPet, recently released a survey of pet parents and found that the shift to working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic brought home the importance of flexibility. In fact, 21% of working pet parents now say that leaving their pets at home alone is what makes them most nervous about returning to work, and an overwhelming 78% think there should be pet-friendly policies at their workplaces.
“Our pets played a huge role in our lives during the pandemic, providing comfort and joy on even the darkest of days. Now, as pet parents return to work, it will be a transition for both humans and pets, and an even bigger adjustment for the millions of families who added a pet for the first time,” says Dr. Danielle Bernal, global veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food. “We’re urging employers to think about and listen to the needs of their pet parent employees, and recognize the many ways that pets make us better people, and workers. Studies have shown how pets can have a positive impact on our own health and wellbeing – from lowering resting blood pressure to reducing stress – benefits we could use it the workplace in this new normal.”
For those who can’t bring their pets to the workplace, WellPet offers some advice.
Ease your pet into a new routine:
• Set your alarm for the time you’d normally start getting ready to leave for work. Shower, dress and feed your pet before starting your workday at home.
• The next step would be to get ready and actually walk out the door. Initially, leave for just ten minutes. Extend the outings a few minutes each day.
• Consider placing your pets in another room of the home on their own for a while, even when you’re home. Do it at random times.
• If you previously walked your dog in the mornings before going to work, start doing that again. The benefit of early morning exercise is that your pooch will be tired and happy to sleep. This is a great routine for when you are once again really heading out in the morning.
Change up your pet’s routine:
• Puzzle toys and games that can be filled with treats are great distractors. Introduce them as part of your at-home routine. This will be something that pets will enjoy when they are home alone.
• If you have strayed from your pet’s mealtime routine, get it back on track to what it was before the lock down.
• In a single pet household, consider putting down the food bowl as you get ready to leave. A meal can be a nice distraction. But don’t try this if you have several pets and need to monitor mealtimes so that sneaky food stealers don’t take advantage.
• If you have previously crated your dog, start introducing short crate times at irregular intervals.