Just as we've grown accustomed to working from home, so have our cats and dogs.

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It's been over a year of taking Zoom calls from our home offices, intermittent walks around the block with the family dog, and giving our pets plenty of belly rubs between emails. Since the pandemic began, many Americans have gotten comfortable working remotely, but we're not the only ones. Our pets have grown accustomed to us being home, too.

Now, as more and more Americans are trading their virtual meetings for back-at-the-office meetings, how will our pets cope with us not being home as often?

dog waiting for owner by door
Credit: Nicholas Hylton / EyeEm / Getty Images

Consider natural supplements.

If the stress of leaving your pet is too much for your furry best friend, trying natural calming chews or gourmet pet-approved flavors CBD oil that's tailored to your dog or cat. Calming chews or CBD gummies may help your pet cope with the stress of your absence as the combination of high-quality CBD oil from broad-spectrum hemp extract and chamomile are natural anxiety reducers.

Crate your dog responsibly, if necessary.

If you got a new puppy over the course of the pandemic or re-trained your existing pet, Jessica Jane MacMurchy, the coordinator from Animal Charity of Ohio, recommends crating your pets while you're away. It's important that your dog's crate is a safe and happy place to relax while you're at work. MacMurchy recommends owners remove any potentially harmful objects from the crated area, secure any possible escape routes, and provide toys that will spark mental stimulation.

Help them bide the time with productive treats.

Who doesn't love games? While dogs can't partake in solving the daily Sudoku puzzle, there are plenty of pet-friendly puzzles to mentally stimulate your dog or cat's mind while you're out. MacMurchy shares that Kongs (hard rubber toys that can be stuffed with peanut butter or treat and frozen) are a popular choice to keep animals busy. Other non-food options are snuffle mats and puzzle toys.

MacMurchy recommends that the special treat you leave for your pet while you're out should be a "high-value toy." In other words, not something they play with all the time.

Set up a two-way web cam.

When you can check the home security camera on your phone while you're away, it brings a sense of peace and reassurance. Having a pet cam for your pets is another way to reduce separation anxiety for both you and your pet. There are even dog cameras that release treats to your pets, controlled by you via your smartphone.

Practice your new routine.

The last step to gearing up your pet for hours spent alone is to do intermittent practice runs. Start with quick trips to the store, or even hanging outside of your house, building your way up to the number of hours away to correspond with your workday.

If you notice your pet having a more difficult than usual time during your separation, our expert expresses that you consult your veterinarian to see if medical intervention is needed for their safety.

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