Preparing Your Pet for Your Return to Work

Right now, you are probably spending more time with your pets than ever before. Not that we mind, since pet parents working remotely is like finding your favorite treat hidden between the couch cushions! But what happens when you return to work? With stay-at-home orders being lifted, it is important to prepare your dog or cat for your absence as you get back to the daily grind.

Yes, preparing your pet to return back to work is a thing. Just like you will have to adapt to wearing something other than pajama bottoms during Zoom meetings, your dog or cat will have to adjust, too.

Start by establishing a routine as soon as you can, even before returning to work. Pets thrive on routine, especially dogs, so planning a schedule that gently eases them back into a “business as usual” groove will make it easier for them – and you – to readjust.


Davi is hard at work assisting from home.


Get back to the morning walks you used to take before work, and the evening walks that you would go on once you come home. And, if you’ve changed things while working from home, such as feeding four to five times a day instead of two, start scaling back to what you can maintain once back at work.

When leaving or coming back home, stay calm to help our pets feel relaxed. If they seem agitated when you put on your shoes because it means you will walk out the door soon, practice putting on shoes when you aren’t actually going to leave – and commit to making low-key entrances and exits. Pretty soon, your departure will not be anticipated with anxiety, but seen as a regular task.

Re-introducing your pet to alone time and independence slowly will help fight the “oh my gosh, I have no idea what’s going on, they’re never coming home again” shock when you are gone for eight or more hours a day. While you’re away, you might consider playing soothing music to help your dog relax. Dogs love the sound of reggae, but classical music is fine, too, or soft rock.

Give your pets fun things to do when you are gone, like puzzle games and toys stuffed with treats. This is a great way to tire out your dog or cat mentally, which means they’ll nap more and stress less.


JHS Alum, Kermit, helps his mom, a JHS employee, work from home.


Don’t forget that although you are still social distancing, pets are social creatures. Continue to use your free time to enjoy doing things together, like going to parks, places you enjoy together, and daily walks. The more ‘normal’ feels normal to them, the easier it will be when you’re gone more than they’ve been used to these last few months.

Remember that your pets are in this pandemic storm with you. They have been your support during social isolation and your companion during social distancing. While pets have enjoyed all the extra at-home attention – and trust me, we have – they now have yet another disruption to adjust to as you head back to work. Now is the time, while you have a little more freedom, to help your dog or cat overcome this hurdle and move towards a new normal.



p.s. JHS has a limited edition t-shirt collection to commemorate this time spent at home with pets. Shop now!




About the Author:
Davi is a brown dachshund with an appetite for adventure. He is the former canine columnist for Folio Weekly Magazine and is currently sniffing out stories for Unleash Jacksonville. He loves sweet potato treats, playing at the park with friends, and exploring the unknown.