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Pawternity leave. Yes, you read that right. It’s catching on – well, at least in the United Kingdom. New pet owners are being offered paid leave – anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks – by some companies to spend time with their furry new additions. And while the idea might sound a little unusual, there are some real benefits to spending quality time with pets early in your relationship.

Many new pet owners know the struggle and heartache of bringing home a new dog and having to leave him 24 hours later to head to work. Some even try to juggle their lunches around veterinary appointments, housebreaking efforts or training classes. Instead of trying to squeeze your dog into your existing schedule, what if you could stay home to take care of him?

While pawternity leave may not be a reality in the United States just yet, it might be worth scheduling time off to care for your dog while he adjusts to his new environment. Here are some alternatives to a formal leave of absence: