Did you get inspired to adopt a pet during this lockdown, since you are more at home? Or maybe our blog post about the many gifts pets bring you, urged you to get one. You’re not alone! Google searches for the phrase ‘foster dog near me’ spiked in the lockdown! If you are new to being a pet parent and are now working from home, or are planning to adopt a pet, remember to plan for the next few days carefully. Here’s why:

  1. Creating a routine. Be it a dog, cat, or fish, every pet needs predictability when it comes to their basic needs – feeding time, toilet breaks, exercise, and grooming/ hygiene. Else, there’s anxiety in the pets, it affects their health, dogs/ cats don’t get trained, and will never settle into their home. For you, this means carving out dedicated time from your routine. Just like you have a rhythm in your body and mind, they do too. While fish and birds have low demands, dogs and cats need attention. Do you have the space to give it to them? Or, can you move your routine around and fit them in? Think early morning walks, fixed feeding time, allotted space, cleaning after them, etc.
  1. Time together, time apart. It is tempting to let cats and dogs play/ sleep on our beds and give them all our attention. While this is great when you are around, pets experience distress when you leave. Especially after WFH for 5 months! “Once everyone goes back to work, it’s going to be such a big difference and such a shock to the system, that I think definitely we’re going to see a lot of instances of separation distress turning into separation anxiety,” says Mickey McCallum, a dog behaviorist. This manifests in non-stop barking/ meowing, chewing furniture, toilet accidents, and clingy behavior on your return.

Have you planned for boundaries with your pets? Are they allowed to be in your workspace when you are at home? Can you leave your pet away in a different room, or leave the house for a couple of hours to get them used to being by themselves? Consider this, because pets need to learn how to regulate their emotions without you.

  1. Design spaces for play. All pets need physical and mental stimulation. Otherwise, they could get bored and make a mess of your house, or they could get depressed. If you’re unable to give them time because you are working, ensure they are entertained. They don’t need a playroom. But enough things to keep them busy – a bone or treat to chew on, ropes or balls to tug and roll, aquariums could have plants, pebbles and plastic fish, etc. Make them self-sufficient, and they will play on their own to spend the pent up, tireless energy.

Bringing home a pet is like having a family member to care for. Doing so without planning leads to frustration, and people even end up giving away their pets. Think through what adopting one means for you and how you will manage the demands on your time.

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