So many of us have found ourselves working from home over the course of the last year. And for pet parents, this has caused an abrupt and unexpected change in routine for our four-legged family members. Let’s face it: our pets love having us at home, but it’s not exactly possible to explain to your pet why you can’t hang out with them all day long.

But you can’t exactly hide the fact that you’re home. Pets have an incredibly strong sense of hearing and smell, so there’s no disguising when their favorite humans are on the premises. Working from home with pets in the house can cause them to be confused about your availability, but there are ways to mitigate this by keeping a routine and structure in place. Here are some tips to keep your work-from-home balance in order, while also keeping your pets happy and healthy.

Establish Designated Eat, Play & Potty Times

Just like humans, our pets thrive when they have an established daily schedule. This especially pertains to eating, playing and potty breaks. Take some time to map out a daily routine where your pet’s schedule and your work schedule can live in harmony. Create a schedule for meals, play breaks and potty opportunities that you can schedule around your work commitments. This will keep your pet healthy and happy, while also allowing you to focus during your working hours. If you have to make adjustments because of last-minute things, don’t stress. Try to keep as much routine in place as possible.  

Create a Separate Pet-Free Work Space

In some ways, this may be easier said than done, especially if you have pets who aren’t fans of closed doors. But creating a pet-free work space will allow you to remain distraction-free while you’re working, taking conference calls, etc… If your pet nudges you or cries for attention, start working with them on a command like “place” where they know to retreat to their designated spot when this training word is said. This could be their bed, a different room, and so on. Remember: training takes time and patience, and this won’t be an immediate solution. But keep working toward your goal and you will get there together!

Put Together a “Boredom Box”

Pets are a lot like humans, and they can get bored in a hurry. Consider putting together a “boredom box” that’s filled with chew bones, food puzzles, toys, and more. While this may work better for our canine companions, there are lots of toys and items to help stimulate cats too. Grab a leftover cardboard box and create a fun place for them to hide or play. This can buy you some time while you work through an important project, especially if you have a pet who resorts to destruction when they get bored or left alone. You might also consider rotating your pets available toys/activities in the “boredom box” from week to week to help stimulate their interest.

Keep Things Consistent

As you and your pet(s) learn about the necessary boundaries that working from home requires, consistency will be key. Focus on the progress that you’re making together, and understand that creating routine will cut down on unnecessary anxiety and stress for your pets. You may be tempted to leave your desk in the middle of the day to play or go on a walk, but try to stick with your established routine as much as you can. It will be best for both of you! 

How have you been successful in transitioning to working from home with your pets? We would love to hear your tips and ideas! Feel free to leave us a comment below.

And if you’re interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at

We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).