Pandemic pets: How to prepare your furry friend for the return to work

PIX11 Morning News

NEW YORK — An estimated 12 million people became new pet parents during the pandemic, adopting a dog or cat to keep them company while working from home.

Now that more businesses are reopening, pet parents need to prepare their furry friends for their return to work.

Hannah Stember from the Best Friends Animal Society spoke with PIX11 News to break down how to avoid potential issues with returning to work and explains seeing a decrease in the number of pet returns, despite other shelters reporting an increase.

Stember said based on data she received, numbers show pet returns are actually down from what they were pre-pandemic. 

“The number of pets being surrendered are actually down” about 12.5% compared to 2019 and 2021, according to Stember.

She said they are preparing for a possible surge in pet returns, but reminded everyone that people have worked full-time at offices in the past with dogs, so it can be done again. 

Here’s how you can prepare your pet for the return to work: 

  • Create a safe space
  • Provide toys and treats
  • Play soothing music
  • Reward them for calm behavior
  • Practice leaving the house
  • Provide an interactive toy
  • Develop a new routine
  • Puzzle feeders
  • Don’t be dramatic 

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