Caring for pets on office days


The smart tech that can help

Lockdown pets were a big pandemic trend, but unlike other Covid crazes—whether Joe Wicks workouts or sourdough bakes—they couldn’t be abandoned once lockdowns eased.

Not that we’d want to. During the first year of the pandemic, 3.2 million British households got a new pet,1 and those animals often contributed to our wellbeing. In return, we spoiled them by being at home constantly, with plenty of time for feeding, stroking and walking.

The bonds we forged with our lockdown pets were deep, but what now? There’s a steady shift towards hybrid work, where most of us split our days between home and the office. At the start of 2023, 28% of adult workers adopted the hybrid way of working,2 up from 13% a year earlier.3

Some pets can be taken to the office, but for those of us leaving them at home on our commuting days, it can be stressful wondering if they’re okay. Or, alternatively, wondering whether they’ve torn up the sofa or raided the fridge.

Streaming: not just for humans


There have been endless debates about screen time for children, but nowhere near as much discussion about screen time for pets. Yet the latter is a thing, and—if you believe the science—can be a useful way to keep your animals relaxed and occupied while you’re a train or car journey away.

In fact, there are plenty of YouTube videos and Spotify playlists available online specifically created to help your pet relax as you work away from home. Some YouTube channels include round-the-clock streams of music designed to help animals with sleep or separation anxiety, whilst Spotify playlists can be cued up on a smart speaker—either before leaving the house or remotely from your phone.

Another option is DogTV, a streaming TV channel that launched in the UK in 2021 with a schedule of shows designed to destress dogs when their owners aren’t in the house. Its smart TV app costs £69.99 a year—but compare that to the price of a new pair of unchewed curtains, and perhaps it starts to look like a wise investment.

A woman holding her dog on her lap

Dish up mealtimes from the office


You’re not alone if you put on a few pounds during lockdown—it was hard to home-work without also developing a taste for the home-snack. It was the same for many lockdown pets, who knew exactly where to leap to earn themselves a treat.

But what to do when their beloved owner is at the office and there’s no Teams call to interrupt? Cue smart pet feeders: automated devices that dispense wet or dry food to your pets even when you’re miles away munching on a meal deal.

These devices are connected via your home WiFi network, which means you can trigger them remotely from your phone. On some models, you can even record voice messages to play as your pet eats. A calming word of reassurance, perhaps. Or just ‘STAY AWAY FROM THE FRIDGE!’

Keep tabs on your furry friends


When left to their own devices in your home, pets can get into mischief. This doesn’t necessarily indicate bad behaviour; it can simply be that they’re anxious at your absence.

The smart home security system comes in handy here, serving a dual purpose. Not only does it help protect your home but it can also let you check what your pets are getting up to when you’re at work.

EE Smart Home Security uses shock sensors, motion-sensing and wireless cameras to keep your home safe when you’re out. But, that doesn’t mean your pets will be setting it off every time they wander into the living room.

The system uses pet-friendly alarms, with photo detection tech that can tell the difference between an animal and a human intruder. Its shock sensors are also pet friendly, so if your cat or dog likes to paw the window, you won’t arrive home to piercing sirens and angry neighbours.

Meanwhile, if your animals are more the wandering type, you can use a GPS pet tracker to keep tabs on them. They’re less about satisfying your burning curiosity about where exactly your cat goes at night, and more about protecting pets who aren’t supposed to be out alone. In other words, if your dog escapes for a solo adventure, at least you’ll know where to head with your running trainers.

If you and your pet have grown accustomed to having one another around 24/7, switching to a hybrid way of work will take some getting used to. But with patience, a helping hand from tech, and (just to be safe) 17 bank-vault-grade locks on the fridge door, you can worry less about the separation, and look forward to the nightly reunion.

1    BBC, 2021. Households 'buy 3.2 million pets in lockdown’ (

2    Office for National Statistics, 2023. Characteristics of homeworkers, Great Britain: September 2022 to January 2023 (

3    Office for National Statistics, 2022. Is hybrid working here to stay? (

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