If you’re anything like the majority of pet owners, you’ve probably wished you could bring your dog to work at some point. After all, one of the hardest parts of heading off to work every day is leaving your beloved doggo behind. Those pleading puppy eyes are enough to melt anyone’s heart!
But did you know that Take Your Dog to Work Day is a thing? Every year, on the Friday after Father’s Day, workplaces nationwide go to the dogs—literally.
If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that participates in this fun holiday, well, that’s terrific! But before you pack Fido into the car for your daily commute, there are a few things you’ll want to consider first. A little bit of preparation goes a long way towards ensuring you both have a paws-itive experience at the office.
But before we dive into HOW you should proceed with bringing your dog to work, let’s take a quick look at WHY you should do it in the first place.
Why you should bring your dog to work: the benefits
Aside from the opportunity to show-off how brilliant and beautiful your dog is, bringing him to work comes with a host of benefits. If you’re unconvinced that letting your dog shadow you at the office is a good idea, consider the following benefits of having a dog in the workplace:
1. Dogs relieve stress: If your workday does a number on your nerves, we’ve got some good news: a study conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 discovered that employees who worked alongside their dogs had lower hormonal stress levels than those who didn’t. Not a bad reason to bring your dog to work!
2. Dogs are an immediate mood booster: With their silly antics and unconditional love, dogs have a way of brightening even the darkest of days. It kind of goes without saying, but having a dog in the workplace is a surefire way to boost morale and lighten the office’s mood.
3. You’ll be more productive: This may sound counterintuitive, but bringing your dog to work can actually enhance your performance. Employees are more inclined to deliver their best work when they’re enjoying themselves. And how can you not enjoy sending off emails with your charming Boston Terrier in your lap?
4. Dogs are the perfect battery recharger: When your eyes begin to bug-out after staring at a computer screen all day, your dog is always happy to help you refresh your body and mind. Take a quick walk outside, or simply give your dog a good cuddle, and trust us— you’ll feel a million times better.
5. Dogs build a sense of community: Dogs are a great icebreaker, and they can encourage positive interaction among coworkers.
6. When you bring your dog to work, you’ll encourage adoptions: Take Your Dog to Work Day isn’t just a playfully fun holiday for pet parents. Originally, it was established by Pet Sitters International as a way to promote dog adoptions. Because: who wouldn’t want to adopt a sweet shelter puppy after meeting your darling dog?
7. Decreases pet care costs: If your furry friend regularly attends doggy daycare while you’re at the office, you’ll save major bucks by bringing him to work with you instead.
How to bring your dog to work: 13 tips for a pleasant office visit
Here’s how you can enjoy a workday with Fido in tow, minus any headaches or added stressors. If you’re planning to bring your dog to work with you, follow these guidelines to enjoy a safe and memorable day at the office together.
1. Make sure shots and vaccines are up-to-date
This is a must to protect your coworkers and their pets. If you’re unsure if your dog’s shots are up-to-date, contact your vet to double-check.
2. Get your pup groomed ahead of time
Your dog is always handsome, of course, but you’ll want him looking extra dapper when he makes his office debut. Schedule a grooming appointment beforehand to get your dog looking his best.
3. Feel out your co-workers ahead of time
This may come as a surprise, but not everyone is a dog-lover. Some people have allergies, others may be afraid of dogs. It’s wise to get a sense of how your coworkers feel about a dog in the workplace before you bombard them with your charming pug. Always discuss things from a place of respect. If a coworker isn’t exactly keen on having a dog at the office, listen and respond appropriately.
4. Only bring a well-trained dog
This is kind of a no-brainer, but only bring your dog to work if he understands basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” A dog who barks or whines excessively can be a distraction to fellow employees, so keep your dog at home if he isn’t able to listen. It’s also important that you only bring your dog to work if he’s already housebroken.
5. Keep your dog’s personality in mind
You might be eager to show off your adorable dog, but how does she feel about it? Consider how your dog behaves when meeting new people. Is she shy or suspicious? Is she anxious in unfamiliar environments? If your dog is uncomfortable with new things, perhaps it’s best to leave her at home.
6. Dog-proof your work area
Scout out your work area for items that could pose a danger to your pet. Pay special attention to the following common office items that could harm your dog:
- Paper shredders: Protect your curious pup’s tails, ears, and tongue (yikes!) by keeping paper shredders unplugged when not in-use.
- Electrical cords: An enthusiastic chewer could suffer serious injuries if he gets a hold of an electric cord.
Garbage cans: Is your dog an avid garbage-surfer? Trash bins contain all sorts of tempting morsels for your pooch, many of which can be either a choking hazard or contain materials that are toxic to your dog, such as leftover onions from your coworker’s lunch.
- Purses: Watch your dog around purses and backpacks, which could contain medications, cosmetics, or harmful foods like chocolate.
- Plants: If you’re unsure if your office’s lovely Umbrella tree is toxic to your dog, check out the handy toxicity guide developed by the ASPCA. (**spoiler: it IS toxic to your dog.)
7. Pack a doggy bag
Anticipate your dog’s needs ahead of time, and pack a bag accordingly. You’ll need food, bowls, treats, a leash, poop bags, chew toys, and cleaning supplies for any accidents.
You may want to bring along a baby gate or a crate, especially if your workplace has an open floor plan.
8. Bring some distractions
Of course, this is still a work day (albeit, a special one) and that means work still needs to be done. Puzzle toys can serve as a great distraction for your pooch when you need to buckle down. Chew toys or Kongs filled with a tasty treat are also winners. Just leave the squeaky toys at home—your coworkers will surely thank you.
9. Provide a comfy place to sleep
Your Content Goes HereCubicles aren’t exactly the coziest places to curl up for a midday siesta, so set up a comfy bed for your dog—he’ll appreciate having his own designated spot where he can feel safe and comfortable.
10. Take frequent potty breaks
To avoid the embarrassment (and mess) of an accident in the office, take your dog outside more frequently than you normally would at home.
11. Introduce your dog gently to minimize stress
When you arrive at the office, take your leashed dog for a quick meet-and-greet with your coworkers. If other employees have brought their dogs as well, have them meet on neutral ground outside of the office. Reward your dog and offer praise when he makes a new friend.
12. Watch for any signs of distress
Some dogs handle new situations better than others. Monitor your dog for signs of stress, such as pulled-back ears, a tucked tail, sudden scratching, shaking, cowering, or growling.
If your dog appears uneasy, take a break from the office and go for a walk together, or let him collect himself in the safety of his crate. Don’t forget that not everyone knows how to read your dog’s body language, so politely inform overzealous coworkers if they are stressing your dog out.
13. Have a plan B
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things won’t go as planned. Have a backup plan in place in case a problem arises, whether it’s a friend coming to take your dog home, or keeping your dog in an unused conference room. No matter what, never leave your dog in your car. It takes only minutes for the temperature inside your car to reach a dangerous level.
If you plan to bring your dog to work with you next week, we wish you all the best. If you prepare appropriately, your darling pup is sure to be a hit with your coworkers!