Pet owners may wish they could cuddle their furry companions all day long, but someone’s got to bring home the kibble. Here are some tips for leaving your four-legged charges on their own at home.

1. Tire Them Out
Some dogs and cats are happy to sleep all day, but puppies and breeds such as border collies and huskies were born to run, says Sarah Pennington, a dog trainer. Try to fit in a vigorous walk – between 30 and 60 minutes – every day before work.

2. Keep Watch, Big Brother Style
You can supervise, talk to and play with your pet while at work via your computer or smartphone app. Video chat with your animal over Skype by setting up an account for them and enabling the ‘auto answer’ feature. As long as your home computer is on, your pet’s Skype will always pick up when you call.

3. Play Mind Games
Even the most docile pet can howl or gnaw out of boredom or separation anxiety. Put dog biscuits in a feeding toy that has them unlock a puzzle to access their treat. Indoor cats will enjoy the distraction of a toy that taps into their wild instincts, such as a noise-making crinkle ball.

4. Contain, Don’t Crate
Nature calls for young dogs about every half hour, but resist putting your canine in a crate. Instead, keep them in a safe, chew-free area with access to food, water, toys, their crate and a spot for them to do their business.

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