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How to work from home with your pets

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Working from home has become the new normal for many Australians, and for your pets, it might be a little strange for them to have their human home so often. It’s a great chance to spend time together, and ensuring you all get off on the right foot - and paw - will help you going forward.

Sticking to similar routines as best as you can will help, and ensuring your cats have somewhere to escape to if all the extra human foot traffic and noise gets a bit much.

Here are some helpful tips to enjoy much more of each other’s company:

Check your home office set up
Ensure your new home office environment is safe for not only you and other household humans, but all your pets too. Cables, cords and rubbish bins can be hazardous for pets, so ensure they can’t access these or topple over any screens or hardware.

Cats especially may gravitate towards the warmth of your keyboard or equipment, so please ensure your cats are safe and away from any hazards. Your pet may bring you all their finest toys as a sign of their love and affection, or simply lay at your feet, so be mindful of these trip hazards too.

Watch the treats
It’s important to remember that, if you don’t usually work from home, your pets are not used to you being there or receiving treats during business hours. Although you are spending a lot more time together, and your pet may be very good, please do not give them more treats or food than they would normally have. Sticking to their usual food routines will help keep them healthy.

We humans have to be careful not to change our eating habits too much or overeat when working from home, and it’s the same for our pets.

Give me constant affection!
Your pets may soon come to love having you home so much during work hours and stretches of home isolation. However, there may be times you cannot continue to give endless tummy rubs or neck scratches because you have a pressing deadline or a video conference with the big dog, err… big boss. In these moments, ensuring your pet has an activity or game to play solo is a great distraction. See our blog about making play time safe and video on making a DIY puzzle for cats.

Get up and move
Being home and taking regular breaks is important and are also a great chance to play with your pets. Initiating a game of fetch with your dog, taking them for a walk (whilst enacting social distancing), or interacting with your cat or bird is not only great for your mental health while working from home, but also great for strengthening the bond with your pet.

Zoomies on Zoom
One downside to working from home when you’re used to being in the office is the lower chances of socialising with colleagues. Video conferencing and other technologies can really help with this, and introducing any of your pets to your colleagues can be great for boosting morale. Feel free to also give your pets job titles in your home office such as CFO – Chief Fluffy Officer or Minister for Home Office Affairs.

If you have any questions or concerns about companion animals and COVID-19, please see the RSPCA Knowledgebase for updates and helpful information: kb.rspca.org.au


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