Working from home with pets – what should you be doing?

Work-from-home guidance, part of England’s Plan B measures, could be set to roll on for another three weeks, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

The most recent restrictions are set to expire six weeks after implementation, with a review after three weeks, which is expected on or close to Tuesday, January 4.

But the newspaper said the review, likely to be timed for when MPs return to Westminster on Wednesday (January 5), could see the work-from-home guidance remain in place into the latter half of the month.

Top tips for working from home with cats and dogs

If you have a four-legged friend keeping you company in your home office, experts from Vets4Pets have shared their top tips on how to help them cope with the new working arrangements.

While getting used to spending more time at home can be a big adjustment for humans, it can also have a major impact on pets too.

Disturbances to the normal routine and an usually busy household can cause animals stress and anxiety.


Dr Samantha Butler-Davies, veterinary clinical services manager at Vets4Pets, said: “Many pets thrive with predictability and can find a change of routine unsettling.

“Regardless of whether you have an older or a younger pet, it’s possible they will feel overwhelmed or become more dependent with people being in the house for longer periods of time.

“Thankfully there are some things you can put in place to help prepare them for a busier house. The key thing is to introduce these as soon as you can to help them adapt quickly, and the use of a pheromone diffuser will also help them to feel calm.”

How to help pets adjust to work from home arrangements

Stick to a routine
Predictability can help to reduce stress in cats and dogs, so it’s good to have a daily routine in place they are familiar with.

Things to consider:

  • Have a regular sleep pattern – Make sure you stick to the same times when getting up and going to bed. This way your dog, or cat if you don’t have a cat flap, will know when they’ll be let in and out, or have their last toilet break of the evening.
  • Be consistent with mealtimes – Stick to regular mealtimes for your pet to stop them from wondering when dinner is going to appear. Also, try and avoid giving extra treats during the day which they wouldn’t normally have.
  • Plan your exercise times – Try taking your dog on a walk or letting them out at the same times to help avoid them becoming anxious about when they are getting out.
  • Remind them of their independence – If your pet would normally have some alone time during the day, make sure to replicate this by working in a different room to them or maintaining access to their bed or crate for their usual amount of time.


Keep them occupied 
If your pets are shut out of your workspace, this may be confusing for them if they are usually allowed around you when you are at home.

Some cats and dogs may even get bored when their owners are in another room and may entertain themselves by taking apart soft furnishings, scratching furniture or chewing cupboard handles, for example. 

To help avoid this, supply your pets with plenty of boredom-busting puzzles and toys so they can entertain themselves safely while you’re working.
If you are seeing signs of boredom-related behaviour and would like support, speak to your vet, who should able to offer some more specific help.

Keep an eye on the central heating
It’s likely that you’ll be using your central heating a little more than often to keep the house warm throughout the day, but take care that it doesn’t become too hot for your pet.

Elderly or overweight pets can overheat in a very hot room, and flat-nosed dogs (brachycephalic breeds) need special care because they find it harder to pant, which is how they normally regulate their body temperature.
Central heating can also encourage fleas to thrive so make sure to regularly wash pet bedding and blankets on a 40-degree wash, as well as hoovering the places they like to relax. Also, always make sure your pet is up to date with their flea and worm treatments.
On the flip side, if you are worried about your pet getting too cold, make sure to have plenty of blankets and comfy beds for them to snuggle into to help keep them warm.

Try not to fuss
The more time you spend at home, the better dogs in particular are at spotting the subtle cues and signals that you’re heading out, and this can cause them to feel stressed and anxious.

To help avoid this, it’s important you don’t make a big fuss when you leave or come back to your pet. Instead, greet them calmly once you’ve got indoors and have put your keys away – showing them it is okay to be alone, and helping them to feel more relaxed.

If working from home guidance does continue, follow these tips and make the experience a positive one for your pet.

Redhill And Reigate Life | News