Pet owners may wish they could cuddle with their furry companions all day, but someone’s got to work to bring home the kibble. These tips should help keep your four-legged charges happy while they’re alone, which will make coming home to them all the sweeter.

Sweat so they slumber

Sweat so they slumber

Most cats and some dogs are happy to sleep all day, but puppies and some ener­getic breeds (such as border ­collies and huskies) were born to run. Help your pooch burn off nervous energy with a 30- to 60-minute walk­ before you leave.

Chat them up

Chat them up

While you’re at work, you can supervise your furry friend via an indoor security camera. You can also video chat over Skype (seriously!) by setting up an ­account for your pet, enabling the auto-answer feature, and leaving your home computer on. 

Play mind games

Play mind games

Even the most docile pet can gnaw out of boredom or separation anxiety. Put biscuits in a Kong or other feeding toy that a dog needs to chew, bang, or spin just the right way to access the treats. Indoor cats will enjoy toys that tap into their wild instincts, such as a noisy crinkle ball.

Contain, don’t crate

Contain, don’t crate

Nature calls for young dogs every half hour, but resist cooping your canine up in a crate, which can lead to behavior problems from lack of exercise and socialization. Instead, keep him or her in a small area, such as a laundry room, with access to food, water, toys, and a corner covered with newspapers. 

Find a room with a view

Find a room with a view

Arrange a perch where your dog or cat can look out the window. If you have an enclosed yard where it’s safe for your furry friends to roam, install a pet door to allow them to go out as they please.

Track their steps

Track their steps

GPS collars, which text you if your pet leaves a designated safe zone, are especially important for animals that have access to the outdoors. Most also function as activity trackers, so you can tell how much exercise your dog is getting during the day. 

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