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5 Simple Solutions for Taking Care of Your Pet When Working Late

Clair Jones

We all love our furry friends, but sometimes it’s just not possible to take care of them the way we want when we have an important project that demands that we work late.

Pet daycare is an excellent option for younger dogs, but some older or less social animals like cats and senior dogs may find it to be stressful.

Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable new products that can help keep your pet entertained, allow them to use the bathroom, eat, drink, and even receive treats and praise when you’re away.

Here are the five best solutions for taking care of your pet remotely while you burn the midnight oil.

Give Them Food and Water From Afar

You likely have your pet on a feeding schedule, and working late can interrupt proper nutrition if you fail to plan ahead. Investing in an automated feeder and an auto-waterer can ensure that your pet stays fed and hydrated while you’re away.

There are plenty of choices for the type of automated feeder you purchase, including models that run on a timer or connect to an app on your phone to allow you to feed your pet remotely. Auto-waterers come in simple designs that rely on gravity or even watering fountains that have been proven to encourage cats and dogs to drink more for better digestion.

It’s also important to follow feeding instructions given by your vet and control portion size, especially for senior animals who might have weight issues or sensitive digestive tracts. Animals may be tempted to overeat while you are away, motivated by boredom or nervousness. Educate yourself about the proper nutrition for your pet based on activity level, size, and age before adjusting the settings of your auto-feeder.

Make Sure They Can Go Potty

When nature calls you want to know that your pet can get relief, even when you’re away. This is especially important for senior dogs and cats that might be unable to hold it and are prone to accidents. If you don’t have the time (or desire) to train your pet to use the toilet, there are a few options that can give your pet relief when you work late.

If you happen to have a fenced-in yard, an electronic or magnetic pet door could be an affordable solution for your dog or cat. Not only do pet doors allow your pets to relieve themselves, but also allow for more freedom and space to explore.

If you live in an apartment or are afraid your pet will escape from your enclosed yard, placing a strip of fake turf or real grass in a central location is a popular solution. There are many designs available, but it’s very important to train your dog to use the product, and choose a convenient location. A patio is ideal, so consider combining a pet door with a potty strip to avoid offensive odors.

Keep Them Busy

Taking care of the basic needs of your pet is necessary, but stimulating them mentally and physically while you’re away is just as important. If you know you’ll be working late, purchase some special interactive toys for your dog or cat that will keep them engaged and entertained.

The main types of interactive toys that you can choose from are chew toys, treat toys, and puzzle toys and each offers unique benefits. Chew toys are great for dogs prone to naughty nibbling, treat toys are perfect for soothing nervous cats and dogs, and puzzle toys are best for highly intelligent animals who need extra stimulation. There are even ball-throwing machines for pups who are obsessed with fetch.

For a more in-depth look at interactive dog and cat toys, and some popular and safe choices, check out this guide for dogs, or this guide for cats.

Give Them Treats and Reassurance

Nervous pets can become very unhappy when left alone for long periods of time. One great way to keep them company from afar is to invest in a smart treat dispenser. Many products offer two-way audio and video that allow you to call your pet, talk to them and offer reassurance in the form of treats. Try setting a treat schedule for your pet, checking on them once every hour and praising them for good behavior.

Hearing your voice, seeing your image, and receiving positive reinforcement can help soothe dogs and cats and prevent them from getting lonely. Some treat dispensing pet cameras even incorporate soothing scents to calm your nervous pet, and other dispensers are super simple and release treats using a timer. Compare features to find the treat dispenser that’s right for your fur baby.

Monitor Their Behavior

While pet treat dispensers sometimes have cameras, their view is limited to one room. If your pet is particularly precocious, you might want to install a few cameras to monitor your pet while you’re away. Nanny cams work well for this and are small, inexpensive, and easy to install yourself with simple tools.

Many nanny cams can connect with an app on your phone, allowing you to monitor your pet’s behavior no matter where you are. This can be useful when you have to work late, or even when you’re away on business and you want to make sure your pet sitter is taking proper care of your dog or cat. If your pet gets sick, goes through the garbage, relieves himself in the house, or just does hilariously strange things while you're gone, it will all be recorded and available on-demand on your smartphone.

No pet owner likes to leave their furry friend alone for long periods of time, but sometimes it’s unavoidable when you’re vying for that big promotion and need to put in extra evening hours to get ahead. If you want to take great care of your pet even when you’re not home, try these five simple solutions.

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Clair Jones Member
Clair is a freelance writer and technology and business expert based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been published on trusted sites like Forbes, Huffington Post, and Business2Community.