Top considerations for pet owners returning to work

The COVID-19 pandemic permanently altered our work and home lives. In fact, with hybrid and remote work now the norm for many industries, Australians have more time to spend at home. So it’s unsurprising we’ve seen an increase in pet ownership, with the Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022 revealing one-third of pet owners added a new pet to their family during the pandemic.

However, with restrictions being eased and people returning to their physical workplaces more often, the return-to-work transition can have a significant impact on both pets and their owners. Here’s how major life changes are affecting Australian pet owners.

More and more pet owners are returning to work – at least some of the time

As more Australians return to their physical workplaces, pet owners are being forced to adjust their daily routines to ensure their furry friends remain happy and healthy. Dogs need to be walked either before work starts or after-hours, while cats may need additional stimulation throughout the day.

This transition isn’t just hard on the humans. It’s also a challenging prospect for pets who have become comfortable with always having their owners around. They may start to display symptoms of separation anxiety, which can result in negative behavioural changes like excessive barking, destructive tendencies or even depression.

The bottom line is that everyone’s situation is different, and there are pros and cons to both working from home and returning to the office.

Benefits of working-from-home with your pet

Depending on the type of work you do, it may be possible to switch to a hybrid-work schedule or even work remotely full-time. Working from home has a variety of benefits – both for your pet and your own mental and physical wellbeing.

Your pet will love getting more cuddles throughout the day, while you can forgo the commute and spend more time on activities with your furry friends. This additional time spent together can also strengthen your bond and even have a positive impact on mental health for both of you.

Advantages of going back to the office

While working from home has its benefits, there are also advantages to returning to your pre-pandemic routine and leaving your pet at home during the day. Firstly, it can help prevent behavioural changes from occurring when their routine is disrupted by unpredictability – such as you working from home some days and being in the office at other times.

Leaving your pet at home may also provide them with a sense of independence, allowing them to develop their own routine and explore in a safe, comfortable environment where they are completely confident.

Key considerations before bringing home a new furry friend

Despite the Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022 revealing that more than half (58%) of pet owners decided to add another furry friend because of “experiences through lockdowns and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic”, bringing a new pet home shouldn’t be done on a whim.

There are a few key considerations you should make first. Consider your lifestyle and the amount of time you have available to care for an animal. Different pets will have different needs, and some may be more suited to your lifestyle than others. It’s also important to research various breeds to find the right fit. For example, a highly active working dog wouldn’t do well in an apartment. You should also weigh up the financial cost of owning a pet. It’s not just food you need to pay for regularly, but toys, flea and worming treatments, grooming, ongoing vet care and more.

How to support your pet when returning to the office

If you can no longer work from home full-time, you will need to make sure your pet feels supported and has a solid routine in place before you go back to your physical workplace. This may include gradually increasing the amount of time you leave your pet alone, providing them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied throughout the day, and ensuring they always have easy access to shade, food, water and a comfortable space to relax.

In some cases, you may decide to hire a dog walker or pet sitter, which can be particularly helpful in the first few days and weeks. This can provide them with additional socialisation opportunities and help prevent separation anxiety.

A smooth transition

Returning to work after years spent working from home can be challenging for both you and your pet, but with careful planning, you can make the transition as smooth as possible.

Consider how pet insurance can help ease your mind that you have financial protection in the event of something unexpected happening to your pet, such as accidental injury or illness. Start comparing a range of pet insurance quotes with Choosi today.