How to Help Our Pets Transition to Post-Pandemic Life

See that down there? At the end of the tunnel? It’s light. After a long, trying, honestly traumatic year, the pandemic is finally starting to wind down to a close.

While it’ll be a while yet before we’re completely back to pre-COVID “normal,” there’s a lot of data pointing to a late summer or fall that more resembles the kind we’re used to. For instance, travel bookings are way up year over year, restaurants and businesses are cautiously re-opening, and workplaces are starting to discuss how to bring employees back into the office.

Post-Pandemic Life & Our Pets: Some Data

This is all great. Fantastic, really! However, as we all engage in cautious optimism, there’s a lingering question for many pet parents: how are our fur friends going to adapt to this re-emergence into society? Particularly those that were adopted amid the pandemic and don’t know anything else but the “my parents are here all the time” life.

According to a 2021 survey by Banfield Pet Hospital, one in every three people adopted a new pet during the pandemic, which in and of itself is wonderful. We saw the heart-warming evidence of an uptick in adoptions when shelters were literally emptied.

Now, though, pet owners are feeling a bit unsure about what life looks like for them and their pets post-pandemic. That same survey found that 63% say this increased time at home has them thinking about how their pets will fit into that eight-hour workday once we’re back to “normal.”

Sadly, the Banfield survey found that 25% to 33% of new pet parents are considering re-homing their new pets out of fear they will not be able to provide them with adequate care and attention post-pandemic.

While we understand that desire to put pets first, this data is still quite alarming. In some cases, re-homing might make sense. However, for the sake of putting pets first, it usually is better to attempt an alternative solution before taking this extreme and jarring route.

How to Help Our Pets Transition After the COVID-19 Pandemic

So, what are those solutions? There are a few things we can do:

  1. Slowly help your pets adapt to time away from you. This means leaving them alone for small increments of time and slowly increasing that time away to get them used to the idea.
  2. Maximize your time together. This is helpful in two ways: you’re giving them that TLC, and you’re also wearing them out so they’re ready to relax when you’re away.
  3. Help keep them engaged while you’re out of the house with mentally stimulating toys and physical activities.
  4. Make use of products that help with pet anxiety, such as Thundershirts, clothing that smells like you, and comfortable bedding.
  5. Hop on the purrch app for real feedback and advice on how existing pet owners just like you are navigating this issue with their own pets.
  6. Speak to your veterinarian about anxiety medications, which can help in extreme scenarios.
  7. Consider hiring a pet-walking or pet-watching service. There are companies, such as Rover and Wag that make this simple.
  8. Discuss bringing your pet to work with you once you return to the office.
  9. Have a conversation with your work about flexible hours that allow you to spend more working hours at home/remote.

Pets in the Office? It’s Possible!

Regarding those last two points, we’ve got great news. There are active conversations happening at a business level about ways to bring pets into the office space once employees begin returning to work.

In their research, Banfield surveyed C-Suite executives and found that 50% are planning to allow pets into the workplace, often with the specific goal of helping entice employees back into the office. Additionally, 59% of those surveyed said they would provide their employees with more flexible hours or the option for remote work.

Even if your own employer isn’t pushing these ideas forward, it’s worth being an advocate for your own pet’s wellbeing by bringing it up. After all, there’s a very good chance you’re not the only one having these thoughts or questions. Igniting that dialogue can bring great relief to you, your pets, and to your colleagues, as well. And let’s be real: those in charge of making these decisions may very well have pets themselves, making them personally sympathetic to the issue.

Remember, you can find a community of people going through the same thing on the purrch app and discuss it with them, as well. We’ll see you there!

Purrch is powered by a team of ultra-passionate pet peeps, adoption advocates, and fellow pet nerds who believe that animals big and smol make us—and the world—better. We can’t wait to see your heckin’ cute pets, watch your Tails, and build friendships along the way. You can download the purrch app here