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Pets are a major perk for those who work from home. It makes sense—after all, having a dog for a coworker guarantees you’ll regularly step away from your screen to get fresh air. A few minutes of fetch with your pup or feather-and-string with your cat can brighten an otherwise exhausting day. Plus, nothing alleviates the tension of an out-of-control inbox better than free snuggles.
But as any pet parent working from home knows, it’s not always easy—not when your dog starts barking because a delivery showed up during your presentation (been there), or when you’re on a deadline and your cat is vying with your laptop for prime seating (done that).
Fortunately, the pet parents at Rover’s HQ in Seattle are pros at working alongside their four-legged friends—they’ve been taking their pups to work for years at Rover’s dog-friendly office. Now Roverines are sharing the tools of the trade that get them and their pets through the workday at home.
Work From Home Tip #1: Get Your Pet Some Exercise
A tired pet is a quiet pet, which makes it a good idea to start the day with some exercise. A walk and a few minutes of play before you sign on to work can take the edge off your pet’s morning energy and remind them that you love them—even if you need to spend the next 45 minutes with your coworkers talking about what makes a quality poop bag (the kinds of meetings we have at Rover).
These toys and treats are some of our favorite ways to start the work-from-home day with our pets.
This treat-dispensing toy from Starmark is meant to make your pet work for their food, offering mental stimulation with a tasty reward. To fill it, just unscrew the yellow cap and put your favorite treats or kibble in the small upper chamber.
Then adjust the Bob-a-Lot’s two sliding doors to customize the difficulty level: a small hole means your pup has to do a lot of nosing and batting to knock the food out, while a larger hole makes for relatively quick work.
Roverine review: “This kibble dispenser is a lifesaver for working from home! My pup hates to see the rest of the family leave—so as everyone heads out the door, I fill the Bob-a-Lot with his breakfast and let him work out his frustration while I get ready for my morning meetings. By the time I’m taking my first call, he’s both full and tired. For fellow apartment-dwellers, I recommend finding a carpeted spot for breakfast (the Bob-a-Lot is fairly weighty, so using it on hardwood can be a bit loud for 7:00 a.m.).”
From the makers of Da Bird comes this cat teaser toy, featuring a 12-inch glitter wand connected to flexible, braided wire and a life-size mouse toy. The mouse itself is about three inches long, with an additional two inches of tantalizingly whippy tail. It’s perfect for fitting in some face-to-whisker time with your cat before you sign on to work for the day—and if it leaves your kitty too tired to yowl at you from under your desk, all the better.
We had you at glitter wand, didn’t we.
Roverine review: “This cat toy for indoor cats was a gift from our groomer, who knows a thing or two! Our kitties are just wild for it. It’s a toy they can really sink their teeth and claws into—and it still holds up.”
Work From Home Tip #2: Mess-Proof Your Space
You’re just getting to the good part of your presentation on nylon webbing in hands-free leashes when you hear a shredding sound from the other room—and you have to excuse yourself to find out what just bit the dust.
We’ve been there. That’s how Rover pet parents who work from home know that it’s a good idea to make sure any area your pet can access while you’re not there is double- and triple-proofed against shenanigans.
Kitty pens and dog gates can go a long way toward helping contain a rambunctious pet, but some have a talent for mischief that’s just hard to anticipate. Fortunately, Rover’s pet parents have a few tricks up their sleeves.
This bowl from famed outdoor goods company Yeti made quite a splash when it first came out in 2018, both for its purported benefits and its hefty $50 price tag. We tested the Yeti Bowl ourselves and determined it can be worth it—especially for pups who are messy eaters and drinkers. The solid base discourages flipping, and the high sides keep flying droplets to a minimum.
It’s a savvy choice for pet parents who don’t want to emerge from the home office after two hours of meetings to discover a spreading puddle in the kitchen.
Roverine review: “I recommend the Yeti dog bowl. It’s spendy, but it doesn’t knock over as easily as other bowls, because it’s weighted and super sturdy!”Discover on Amazon
If you work from home with pets, there’s a good chance you know what it’s like to hop on camera and start discovering stray fur mid–Zoom call. It’s everywhere—on your clothes, your couch, your office chair. A trusty pet-hair remover is essential for working from home with pets, and the reusable ChomChom roller is about as trusty as it gets.
It’s environmentally friendly, relying on an electrostatic charge instead of sticky adhesive or battery-powered suction to remove pet hair. Just roll it back and forth across furniture and clothing, watch the hair vanish, and empty out the inner compartment when you’re done.
Roverine review: “I have a dark green velvet couch and an especially hairy Staffordshire Terrier. Before the ChomChom, we were whipping through disposable sticky rolls to pick up the hair and felt bad about the waste (and cost!). The ChomChom does as good a job as its disposable counterpart, and we feel better that it’s more environmentally friendly.”
What other Roverines say: “As the owner of a dog and a very fluffy cat, I can say the ChomChom has been a game changer for us. It picks up hair in one pass, has lasted a couple years, and still has lots of life left. Emptying it is a breeze!”
Accidents happen—that’s life. But when your home is also your office and you’ve got another meeting in ten, the stakes of an unexpected mess can feel especially high. That’s why Rover’s HQ and home offices are usually stocked with Nature’s Miracle.
The bacteria-based cleaner generates enzymes to help remove stains and odors (especially critical if you want to discourage your pet from a repeat offense in the same spot). It smells light and fresh, and it’s good for carpets, hardwood, fabric, and furniture. It’s meant to tackle anything your dog can excrete—and there’s even a version of Nature’s Miracle for cats.
Roverine review: “My dog Oscar is a master of the surprise puke—I don’t even get a burp of warning before he’s reselling breakfast heavily used. This works fast to get stains out of the carpet, and its mild smell lets everyone forget about the incident and return to their spreadsheets (or, in my pup’s case, the important work of snoring through my phone calls).”
Work From Home Tip #3: Master the Art of the Distraction
Your schedule is a mess, and your dog didn’t get his usual walk, so he’s full of energy as meeting time approaches. You know he’s going to bark through the quarterly report. If you could just buy twenty minutes…
Roverines are here to tell you that you can. Working from home with our pets has given us an encyclopedic knowledge of attention-grabbers for cats and puzzle toys or chews to keep your pup busy. Our favorites pack a lot of distraction power and have gotten us through many, many meetings.
Licking mats are the secret to our work-from-home success. They’re a great tool for slowing down speed eaters and can even promote dental health by scraping away bacteria lingering on your pet’s teeth and gums. Just smear your pet’s favorite spreadable treat across the surface and let them go to town while you get things done.
These mats from Hyper Pet are made in the USA from FDA-grade TPE, so you can put them in the microwave, freezer, or (best of all) dishwasher. As with any treat, make sure you’re nearby for the testing process, especially if you have a dog who takes “indestructible” as a personal challenge.
Roverine review: “Both [the ‘Reward’ and ‘Calm’ mats] kept my dogs’ interest piqued. When our paralyzed Dachshund has licked all she can, our Boston Terrier swoops in as the cleanup crew. With food on the line, I found these lick mats retained my dogs’ attention anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes.”
What other Roverines say: “These mats are great! We like to use ours with Buddy Butter, which keeps our dog busy for at least 20 minutes. It’s a good solution for when a surprise meeting comes between you and your dog’s next walk.”
This toy is the solution to a clingy cat who thinks you should ditch your laptop and come play. Instead, try introducing him to your replacement, the PetDroid Boltz! Once you turn it on, it’s active for a period of 15 minutes, during which it rolls around the room erratically, using built-in sensors to avoid furniture and obstacles.
Your cat chases after the attachment du jour—you can choose between feathers, puffs, strings, and fake critters. Once playtime is over, the PetDroid Boltz shuts off automatically for an hour and a half before resuming its wild skittering, effectively keeping your cat busy all day long.
Reviewers are fans of the long-lasting battery (rechargeable via USB cord), the durable exterior, and the challenge it offers their kitties.
Roverine review: “Whoever is responsible for the interactive, robotic wizardry behind this miracle cat toy, thank you for designing a gizmo that somehow manages to capture a cat’s short attention span, and withstand full-on feline assaults, for more than just a few, fleeting moments. … I have a little more time to myself these days, and my cat is in the other room chasing an interactive cat robot.”Discover on Amazon
There’s a reason the classic KONG makes just about every list of dog-distracting toys. Trainers, veterinarians, and dog parents have been using these for over 40 years to engage their pups. The red rubber is made in the USA, and the toy comes in a variety of sizes, from X-Small to XX-Large. Just fill it with your favorite treat and let your pup get to work…so you can also get to work at home.
Pro tip: You can also fill KONGs with peanut butter or yogurt, then freeze them to add to the challenge (and keep the mess to a minimum).
Roverine review: “These are perfect for keeping Olive busy during meetings. Stella and Chewy treats fit perfectly in the small-sized KONG. I’m so glad I was able to find something that doesn’t need to be broken in order to fit.”
Worried that you’ll emerge from a meeting to discover your pup has torn up the lawn or carpet in your absence? Try the iDig, a distraction custom-made for work-from-home pet parents with zealous diggers.
You hide treats or toys inside the 21.5-inch dish, then leave your pup to root around through layers of fabric flaps and find the buried treasure. All three flaps are removable and washable, and a sturdy hard-shell base keeps the fun contained.
It’s an excellent choice for food-motivated diggers—though especially large dogs may be too strong for it.
Roverine review: “My pug, who is super food-motivated, jumped right in and got the hang of it really fast. It’s a great option for her—she’s older and loves food, but she’s pretty much fully blind and deaf. When people talk about keeping dogs mentally stimulated, that usually includes training, but with her, that’s a little more challenging. What I like about this is that it’s a stationary item, and I can throw kibble or a nice treat in there, and she’ll go to town and work as hard as she can to get it out.”
Roverines also point out that while traditional bobble and wobbler treat toys are great, they can be a little loud for apartment dwellers. The iDig, however, stays put, making it an attractive choice for those with downstairs neighbors.
Work From Home Tip #4: Create the Perfect Spot for Snoozing
Roverines know that one of the best products in your arsenal as a pet parent who works from home is a good pet bed. Providing an attractive spot for your pup or kitty to snooze means less time spent fighting over the coveted lap spot or the space beneath your work desk. Free your legs and remember what it’s like to stretch by investing in a cozy space for your most loyal employee.
Available in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large sizes, this plush doughnut bed is magic to dogs and cats of all shapes. Soft faux-shag fur covers cushy bolsters, while a pet-sized hollow in the center offers the perfect place for your pup or kitty to snooze. The bed’s raised edges keep its occupant toasty and secure.
The best part? This orthopedic bed is machine washable and dryer safe.
Roverine review: “This bed lives up to the hype. I have one in my office, and it just does something to dogs…. I constantly find my dog laying upside down in the bed (which she only does when she’s REALLY relaxed). Thumbs up all around for this one.”
Roverines think heated cat beds are going to change the work-from-home world. This kitty nap pad features an an orthopedic foam base and bolstered sides, all covered in plush micro-fleece. Beneath all that soft padding is a built-in heater, which warms up using just 4 watts of power, then adjusts under your cat’s pressure to match their body heat.
For those new to heated cat beds, it’s a good idea to brush up on some basic safety precautions, like making sure your cat is able to get out of the bed to access cooler areas and forgoing additional blankets on this masterpiece of coziness.
The cord is MET-certified for safety, and all you have to do to clean it is unzip the cover and throw it in the wash machine. Sometimes we wish we were cats.
Roverine review: “This heated bed is amazing for my clingy cat. We would fight over who got my lap during the day: her or my work laptop. This bed totally solved that problem! She absolutely loves it and spends most of her time in it. The one I have is pretty small. My 8-pound cat fits perfectly in it, but our 11-pound cat is a bit big for it. So be sure to take sizing into account when you order.”
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