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Dogs at Work — The Benefits and Challenges of Bringing Your Dog to the Office

yellow lab at work

In celebration of Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 25, we want to take a closer look at dogs in the office, not just one day a year, but year-round. As pet parents, we love the idea of having our dogs beside us at work; however, the scenario raises plenty of questions. Are there benefits of dogs in the workplace? What kind of rules should be in place for dog-friendly offices? Do certain breeds make for better office dogs? 

What Are the Benefits of Office Dogs? 

According to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, out of the estimated 84.9 million U.S. households that own pets, 63.4 million of them own a dog. That’s a lot of dogs! As the demand for more pet-friendly public places increases, some companies look to implement bring-your-dog-to-work policies, like Amazon and Ben & Jerry’s have done for years. Even the smallest companies are finding that a pet-friendly workplace can help them compete for highly qualified and skilled employees. 

Of course, there is science that supports that dogs are good for the workplace.  

Office dogs benefits 

  • Reduces workplace stress: A Virginia Commonwealth University study demonstrated that interacting with office dogs can help lower hormonal stress levels.
  • Encourages collaboration: Researchers at Central Michigan University found dogs in the workplace increased trust and collaboration amongst coworkers.
  • Increases job performances: Workers in pet-friendly workplaces tend to work longer hours and require less time off because they don’t need to take care of their pets at home during working hours.
  • Eliminates some pet care costs: Bringing your dog to work can save you from spending money on dog sitters, dog walkers, and doggie daycare.
  • Entices new hires: Potential employees can find pets in the workplace a valuable perk.
  • Reduces employee turnover: Pet parents employed at dog-friendly offices enjoy bringing their dogs to work and are unlikely to give that up by leaving the company.

Downside to bringing pets to work

  • Distractive noises: Barking, whining, and snoring throughout the day around the office can be disruptive and bothersome.
  • Dogfights: Some dogs dislike certain dogs. An interaction with a dog your pet doesn’t like and a dogfight could ensue, putting your pet, other dogs, coworkers, and possibly customers at risk of harm.
  • Allergies: Coworkers with allergies to dogs could have a difficult time being around dogs all day.
  • Phobias: Some people fear dogs and may be very uncomfortable working around them.
  • Accidents: You may find it challenging to meet your dog’s potty break needs.

What Are Rules for Dogs in the Office? 

Offices that allow dogs should have “Pets in the workplace” or “Bring your dog to work” policies that protect the company, its employees, contractors, consultants, and visitors. Pet policies should list out what pets are allowed (are dogs, cats and rabbits ok?) and breed or behavioral restrictions for dogs. In addition, some companies require the pet owner to provide proof their dog is covered under pet insurance, is up to date on vaccinations, is free of parasites, and won’t cause any allergy issues for coworkers. 

Policies might also offer benefits like pet bereavement and financial assistance for pet adoption along with details on perks like pet snacks, toys, cleaning supplies, and where and when office pets are permitted.

What Types of Dogs Make Best Workplace Pets? 

Are some dog breeds better than others for office settings? Are some pets low-maintenance office pets? 

Before you bring your dog to work, make sure your dog’s breed is allowed. Some companies have breed restrictions for larger dogs, while others permit certain breeds like pit bulls only if they’re on a leash and in a specific area of the workplace. What breeds make the best office dogs? Low maintenance breeds like the corgi and beagle can make great companions in the office. 

Other breeds that do well in workplace settings include:

Although these breeds do well with people, each dog is unique, and for that reason, you must ensure your pet, regardless of breed, is comfortable around humans all day. Here are a few things you should bring to make your pet also feel right at home while at the office: 

Let your coworkers know what treats are OK to share with your dog and if your dog has a sensitive stomach.

*As your dog gets used to the new setting in your office or workplace, this is when the BarxBuddy ultrasonic trainer can work very well. If your dog barks at new sights and sounds — delivery people, customers, doorbells, for example — as soon as the barking stops, press the BarxBuddy button. Give your dog the “quiet” command and reward him with a treat next time he sees or hears the same stimulus and doesn’t bark.  

How to Make Bringing Your Dog to Work a Positive Experience

As a pet parent, it’s up to you to make the experience of having your dog in the office a good one for you, your pet, coworkers, and their pets.

  • Take your pet out for regular potty breaks.
  • Clean up any messes your pet makes.
  • Walk your pet before you go to work.
  • Supervise your pet at all times.
  • Reward your dog with healthy treats and plenty of praise for good behavior. 

As more and more companies welcome dogs into the office, pet parents have a greater opportunity to spend time with their pets while at work, which is truly the best of both worlds.