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The essential guide to work-life balance for pet parents

Establish a consistent daily routine to manage work and pet parenting and to provide them a sense of security

Set aside a spot in your home workspace that is pet-friendly.
Set aside a spot in your home workspace that is pet-friendly. (iStockphoto)

Being a devoted pet parent comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to balancing work and the responsibilities of caring for a furry companion. This can sometimes feel overwhelming. But with a little bit of planning and organisation, and a few practical life hacks, you can successfully navigate both realms.

Establishing a consistent daily routine is a vital component. Animals thrive on predictability and structure, so it’s essential to create a schedule that aligns with your work hours. Set specific times for feeding, exercise, playtime and bathroom breaks. This provides a sense of security and stability for pets, reducing anxiety and promoting good behaviour.

Regular exercise is key to maintaining your pet’s physical and mental well-being. Before and after work, take them for walks, runs, or engage in play sessions that get their heart pumping and their muscles moving. Regular exercise also helps to channel their energy in a positive way, reducing the likelihood of destructive behaviours.

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Technology can help effectively manage both work and pet parenting responsibilities. Consider investing in interactive toys or treat-dispensing devices that can keep your pet engaged and entertained in your absence. Enrichment toys are specifically designed to provide mental stimulation. To sustain your pet’s interest, remember to rotate the toys regularly.

You can even explore the use of pet monitoring systems to check in remotely on your furry friend. These systems often include cameras that enable you to observe your pet and even speak to them. Such tools offer a sense of peace and can help alleviate any separation anxiety experienced by either you or your pet.

Training sessions serve a dual purpose: They provide mental stimulation for your pet and help reinforce good behaviour. Spend a few minutes each day working on obedience training, tricks or fun agility exercises. Training sessions can be a bonding experience and ensure your pet learns to behave appropriately even when you are busy with work.

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Ask for help when you need it. Hire a professional pet sitter, a member of your family or a trusted friend to look after your pet while you are at work. To make sure your dog gets regular exercise and socialisation, dog walking services or daycare centres may be helpful.

Ask about pet-friendly policies or pet-friendly co-working spaces if your place of employment permits. This could ensure your pet is never left alone for long stretches. However, be aware of how your pet’s behaviour may affect your productivity and the office atmosphere.

Since the pandemic, many employers have started adopting the hybrid model of work. Investigate the option of working remotely or negotiating a flexible work schedule if you fall into one of these categories. This will enable you to finish your work while still being present for your pet. Even a few days a week of working from home will greatly lessen separation anxiety.

If you are working from home, set aside a spot in your workspace that is pet-friendly. Create a comfortable bed, keep some toys and a water bowl close by. This will make your pet feel connected to you and lessen their need for continual attention. To avoid any disruptions during crucial conversations or meetings, boundaries must be set. Teach your pet when it is appropriate to approach you, and when to stay away.

Also Read: How to introduce a new pet to your older one

Set aside time during the day to give your pet undivided attention and affection. This makes the pet feel loved and appreciated, whether you are resting together, playing their favourite game, or simply cuddling. Remember, being a responsible pet parent means finding a balance that allows you to provide the love, care and attention your pet deserves while excelling in your professional endeavours.

Nameeta Nadkarni is a practising veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai.

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