When Stay At Home is over...
So many familes opened their hearts and homes to help homeless pets during the COVID-19 Stay At Home orders! As cities and states start reopening, many pet adopters and fosters will start going back to work and school. What will happen to pets that are used to their people being home all the time?
If you are a pet adopter or foster home, you can prepare yourself and your pets to make the transition of "back to work" easier for everyone! Below are our top 4 tips for getting ready to go back to work, and below that links to even more help if you need it.
1. Ease in to new routines
Pets (just like people!) find routines reassuring. Meals at the same time, activities at the same time. If your Stay At Home days were loosey-goosey, now's the time to start getting back on a more regular timetable. Aim to eventually make it as close to your back-to-work schedule for you and your pets. Especially important is potty break schedules for dogs. Start spacing those out during the day if you're going back to work and Fido is going to have to hold it for longer.
2. Play & exercise
Change can be stressful! Scientists say one great way to reduce stress in all animals (including humans, dogs, cats, and more) is through daily play and exercise. Make a good play and exercise session a part of your daily routine: Toss the ball, go for a walk, or bring out the laser toy at same time every day. Each animal is different of course, and you know your pet best to determine how much and what kind of play and exercise is appropriate -- and enjoyable!
3. Time alone
Some work places may never go back to "normal" pre-COVID schedules. You may not know what your company or schools will be doing -- maybe alternate work-from-home schedules, or giving you the option to work from home more often. If you've been an awesome human staying at home as much as possible (or an awesome front-line essential worker), as restrictions lift, chances are you'll be spending more time outside your home without your pet. Get your pet ready to spend some time alone. Ideally you will leave your pet alone for a few minutes, and come back inside, then gradually over a few days lengthen the time they are alone. Practice this daily after their play time, and follow these home-alone tips if needed!
4. Be understanding
Change can be challenging for some pets. If your adopted or fostered cat or dog needs a little extra help getting through this big change in their world, being understanding can go a long way! If you're upset and stressed, remember pets are stress sponges. If you need help, check in with your local shelters and rescues. Their staff and volunteers have tons of experience with helping pets transition to new schedules --every new home is a new schedule! Check out our behavior help sections below, too: