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These days a lot of us are spending most of our time at home and some of us have even started working from home for the first time.
Since we are home all day, we get to spend more time with our pets but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we will get to play with them more.
While it may be enough for us to sit in the same room with our dogs, they don’t seem to understand that our being there doesn’t mean that we have time to play.
Although it can be hard to get any real work done when they give us that look, usually accompanied by a toy in their mouth and a tail-wagging in anticipation of playtime.
The excitement builds as they wait for you to understand their play signal, and it becomes very clear pretty quickly that they aren’t going to let you get any work done.
As someone who has been working from home for many years, I am familiar with this scenario, and I still feel guilty every time it happens.
I feel like I am the most boring dog owner and that my dog deserves so much better than to be ignored while I work. Sometimes I give in and play, ignoring my work, and other times when I absolutely have to get things done, I do my best to ignore her, although I feel so guilty.
I know that I need to remedy this situation and find a way to make both my dog and myself happy. So I am really excited to interview Johnna Devereaux, who has solutions to this common problem. Johnna is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist, the Director of Nutrition & Wellness for Bow Wow Labs, and owner of Fetch RI.
Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about the best ways to keep pets busy while working from home.
What are your go-to solutions for those of us who have dogs that they want to keep occupied for a few hours while we get some work done?
“Long-term chews are my favorite go-to solution when I need time to get things done. Long-terms chews not only occupy your pet while you work, but they provide mental stimulation, oral health benefits and can even help put your dog in a zen-like state for long after the chew is gone.”
What about cat owners, what works best to keep cats busy while the owners are getting some work done?
”Cats are a little more difficult as they do things on their time and can be finicky. If you have a cat that is treat motivated—I highly recommend cat-specific treat-dispensing toys. These toys engage your cat and make them work for their treats while allowing them to have fun at the same time.”
What types of bones would you recommend to give to dogs to keep them busy, specifically ones that don’t require supervision?
“Of course, one of dogs favorite chews is a bully stick—but like most long-term chews there is inherent risk when they get down to the small bit they can no longer hold in their paws.
Feeding a bully stick safely with a Bully Buddy safety device is recommended. I’m not a big fan of leaving anything for your dog to eat when you aren’t close by to keep an eye on them—so besides bully sticks you could feed raw meaty bones, split antlers or for a non-digestible chew—you can give goat or water buffalo horns (and for extra appeal, you can stuff and freeze them with some healthy goodies like unflavored yogurt, blueberries, and cucumbers!)
How about cats? Are there any treats that will keep them occupied?
“There are lots of great cat puzzle toys out there that engage your cat and allows them to “hunt” for their treats—this not only satisfies their natural instincts but it also tires them in the process.”
Click here to see a maze puzzle toy made specifically to keep cats engaged and busy.
My dog loves to play tug of war but that requires my full attention, can you recommend a game like this that she can play without me?
“If your dog loves tug of war, and is happy playing by itself, you should look into a tethered tug of war toy. They make these for outdoor use and some have modifications for use indoors.
Click here to see a tethered tug of war toy made for solo outdoor play for dogs.
How about toys, which types of toys should I keep on hand to occupy her while I am getting my work done?
“Puzzle and mental stimulation toys are always great to have around. In times like this, I would reach for a snuffle mat or a treat-dispensing ball to keep my pups occupied (if you have multiple dogs you should separate them while playing to ensure there is no competition for the food/treat.)”
Check out my previous post about how to keep a dog active for my favorite treat-dispensing toys.
While I don’t have a cat, I do have a friend who works from home and her biggest complaint is that her cat sits on her lap while she tries to get work done. What kind of toys can she pick up to keep her cat busy?
“Again, think puzzle and mental stimulation toys. Anything that will get our cats moving and seeking out treats will help keep them off your lap. Catnip filled toys are also lots of fun, but not all cats respond to the nepetalactone (the volatile oil found in catnip) so choose a toy that fits your cat and their individual personality.”
I hope these tips have helped you to keep your pet busy while you are working from home. Please share it on your favorite social media and leave a comment with your best tips for keeping your pet busy while you are getting work done.