How to keep pets occupied while you’re at work

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By Metro Creative Services

If one had to find a silver lining during the global pandemic that kept people close to home for an extended period of time, the chance to spend more time with pets is worthy of consideration.

Cats, dogs, birds, and other animals reaped the rewards of having humans nearby for much of the day.

As the world continues to open up and people are returning to their offices and schools, pets who have grown accustomed to having company all day long may be in for a shock. Concerned pet owners can take various steps to help keep their pets occupied and content while their human companions are away from home.

Get a buddy

When two pets get together, the opportunity for play increases exponentially. Animals can keep themselves company and hopefully out of trouble. A single pet may experience separation anxiety when his owner goes away to work or school, and that may result in damaging behavior like chewing, scratching or even soiling in inappropriate places.

Provide puzzling toys
Keeping pets’ brains active can reduce instances of boredom. PetMD suggests food puzzle toys that can be stuffed with treats and involve brain power to unlock the food rewards. .

Expend energy
Prior to leaving for work or school, pet parents can help pets expend some energy so they’re more inclined to sleep during the day. The Animal Behavior College suggests an extra 20 minutes of walking each day may be enough to tire out most breeds. Working dogs, such as shepherds, pointers and setters, may need 40 or more minutes to burn off energy. Cat owners can play with their cats indoors, but generally cats will lounge around during the day anyway.

Provide white noise
Pets may have grown accustomed to the sounds of an active house, so white noise can fill the void owners’ absences create. Turn on the television or radio. Pet fountains, fans and other devices can create noises to keep pets content.

Introduce new toys
Keep a cache of new toys and rotate them on a regular basis. Pets may become so interested in the bevy of new toys that they fail to even realize their owners are gone for much of the day.

Make rest enticing
Invest in a new and cozy pet bed (or cage bedding) that’s too comfortable for pets to ignore.

Pets who grew accustomed to constant companionship during the pandemic may need to readjust to a quiet home. Owners can try various strategies to help pets during this adjustment period.

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