For many pet parents, the best part of working from home during the pandemic is spending all day with your pup. Now that many employees are returning to the office, some have even been left wondering, “Can I bring my dog to work with me?” While there are steps you can take to leave your dog at home safely, there are more opportunities than ever before to take your furry friend along to work with you.
Companies are increasingly opening up to ideas like incorporating a “bring your pet to work day.” With the right workplace policies, owning a dog and working in the office can make life much easier for pet parents — potentially even helping to reduce stress and improve morale, which can facilitate increased performance.
Here are 10 employer-friendly tips for bringing your dog to work with you.
The first, and arguably most important step to bringing your dog to work, is checking with your employer and your vet.
Questions to Ask Your Employer:
These are all questions you should ask yourself when assessing the suitability of bringing your pup into a professional work environment.
It’s also important to get the green light from your vet as well. They can clear your pup of any conditions you have been unaware of. The vet will also see to it that your dog has received all the necessary shots to avoid bringing illness into the workplace and making others unwell.
Questions to Ask Your Vet:
A dog-friendly environment is the best way of ensuring your pup’s happiness during the workday. If there’s nothing official in place yet, are they open to working on it? Some simple first steps could include using dog gates to create smaller play spaces, and easy access to clean water and treats.
According to a survey we conducted, 77% of dog owners agreed that pet-friendly employers seemed more attractive amidst the Great Resignation. In a job market that’s as fiercely competitive as ever, this can give some companies an edge in the battle for top-tier talent. As such, creating a welcoming environment for pets is a win-win for all parties.
Not all dogs are created equal. Just like humans, some pups are more suited to being in the office daily than others. It’s very important to be honest with yourself when assessing the suitability of your pup in the workplace. Consider the following questions before making a decision to bring them in with you:
Don’t let your desire to bring your dog to work get in the way of your pup’s happiness or disrupt the flow of your workplace. Prioritize the safety and productivity of your workplace environment first and foremost. If your pup’s personality clashes with the flow of things in the office, bringing them to work might not be a great idea.
Before committing to bringing your dog to work regularly, it’s a good idea to conduct a test run first. This way, you can see how your pup acts in the office, and how they interact with fellow office dogs and colleagues. If everything goes smoothly on the test run and everyone is happy, look to bring your dog in on a day that you’re unlikely to be swarmed with meetings. This will minimize disruption and ensure you can give your dog the attention they need in the process of formally introducing them to the new environment. Practice makes paw-fect!
Similar to humans, some dogs might immediately adapt to the new environment and integrate themselves seamlessly while others may need a bit more time to get comfortable. If all goes well with your test runs, don't start bringing your pup in every day right away. Instead, introduce them to the workplace in stages to help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.
We suggest starting with two days a week, then increasing the frequency with an additional day every two weeks. This will allow your pup to familiarize themselves with the surroundings and your schedule with minimal fuss — and also help your employer determine if having your pup around will be a distraction or not.
Dog-proofing your workplace is another important aspect to consider if you bring your dog to the office. Wires and cables may look like more items to play with your pup, but they can be harmful if your dog gets entangled or chews on them.
The same goes for important documents! Chewing up and ingesting important company files can harm your pup and bring unnecessary headaches for you and your employer. In addition to this, be sure to also check all plants in the office. Some common house plants can be toxic to dogs, so it’s important to ensure that all foliage is dog-friendly.
Your pup will need somewhere to sit during work hours. There’s no better place for them to be than near your desk. Dogs are intelligent animals, so by using a dog bed your pup is familiar with, they will recognize it as their dedicated space to carry out their hard labor while you’re working.
If your dog is more active or energetic than most, consider asking your employer if you can bring a kennel or gate into the office. This way, you can create a dedicated play space for your dog to move around without disrupting everyone else in the office.
Choosing the right toys and treats is important when preparing to bring your dog into the office. Being in a new, unfamiliar environment can be just as much of an anxiety-inducing experience for dogs as it is for humans. As such, bringing some familiar toys and treats with you is a good idea to ease any potential nerves.
Importantly, carefully consider the toys and treats you decide to bring with you. Squeaky toys are a big no-no as they will become a distraction to your coworkers. The same goes for messy or pungent treats — they’ll just end up everywhere and attract unwanted insects and bugs to your office space in the process.
Dogs need breaks too. By aligning your breaks with your pup’s standard potty schedule, you’ll be able to minimize the impact of change on your dog’s normal timetable. Taking breaks with your pup also allows you to step away from your desk and protects you from the effects of prolonged periods in front of computer screens. It can also give you an extra motivational and energy boost to power through the day!
Doing so gives you an opportunity to take your dog for a walk around the corner or let them run around in a nearby park, especially if they tend to get restless and need attention. Breaks that include good physical exercise for your pup will use up their excess energy and help prevent them from distracting you or your colleagues back in the office.
As previously mentioned, it’s important to consider your meeting schedule when planning to bring your pup in for a day at the office. You probably can’t take your pup into the meeting room with you, so make sure you’ve got a backup dog sitting plan. Are you close to a coworker who doesn’t mind watching your furry friend while you’re occupied? Does your building have a doggy daycare center where your pup can take it easy for a few hours?
Be sure to think this through so that bringing your dog to work doesn’t interrupt any important business. If your schedule for the day consists of back-to-back meetings throughout the day, it may not be the best day to bring along your furry friend. In this instance, leaving your pup at home will allow you to concentrate on your job without worrying about finding extra help at work.
If you've tried all nine tips listed above and your pup isn't cooperating, it's best to find another alternative. You could consider leaving your dog at home or finding a suitable doggy daycare center near your workplace. Some pups’ personalities simply don’t mesh well with the hustle and bustle of the workplace — and that’s perfectly okay. Bringing your dog to work shouldn’t become more trouble than it’s worth. If that seems to be the case, you’re better off giving them lots of love and attention when you get home from work to make up for time away from each other.
If you are prepared, bringing your dog to work can be a great idea that delivers benefits for your employer, your pup, and yourself. Try some of our tips above to make the transition for all parties as seamless as possible. Get your pup ready for his or her office debut with a fresh glow-up by our groomers at Barkbus!