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Best Practices for Dogs in the Workplace

January 28, 2021 by SPOT Pet Insurance
Golden Retriever sitting at table at work

We’d all love to bring our dog to the office. Not only would they put a smile on everyone’s faces, but work would be even more fun, right?

At SPOT, we love having furry friends in the office. Having our pets join us during the workday fits with our mission of creating happier, healthier pets...and it makes the day more interesting. Nothing boosts your energy quite like seeing a “coworker” catch a case of the zoomies!

See some of our office pets on our resolutions blog.

However, it’s essential that you take certain precautions before bringing an animal into your workplace. Today, we’re going to break down tips for having dogs in the workplace for both office management and pet parents.

Best Practices for Dogs in the Workplace

While it’s tempting to only think about the joy of having dogs around the office, we need to slow down and evaluate the potential downfalls of having dogs around and establish ground rules for dog parents bringing their pup to the office.

  • Survey your workforce. Does anyone have dog allergies or a fear of dogs? Is there enough of an interest to make this a worthwhile endeavor? What are any possible concerns? (1)
  • Think about the worst that could happen. While not enjoyable to consider, how would your company handle a situation where a dog was injured or where a dog injured an employee? How can you reduce the risk of this happening? (2)
  • Establish a checklist for dog parents. What criteria does their dog need to meet before they can be brought in? Do they have to be a certain age or show proof of vaccinations?
  • Can dogs be brought in every day? Is it okay to have dogs underfoot during the busiest time of the year? Are employees allowed to bring their dogs in every day or only on designated days? (3)
  • Are only dogs allowed into the office? Make sure you’re clear on who is welcome from the beginning to avoid confusing situations in the future.

Tips for Bringing Your Dog to the Office

It’s easy to become overexcited at the prospect of bringing your pup to the office. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top tips you need to know about bringing your dog to work.

  • Bring a crate or barrier. No matter how well behaved your dog is, they may need to be separated from another dog or distractions. Remember that many dogs see their crates as a cozy, safe place to be, and they may willingly retreat there for some peace and quiet.
  • Watch out for dangerous items. Keep your dog away from dangers like electrical cords or the contents of trash bins. Many foods can be toxic to dogs, so keep your dog out of trash bins. Your dog and coworkers will thank you!
  • Pack cleaning supplies for any accidents. Even the best-trained dog may get nervous and have an accident. Prepare for any accidents by bringing cleaning supplies, poop bags, and smell eliminating cleaners.
  • Introduce your dog to your coworkers and their dogs. Take time to take your leashed pup around the office to meet others. Encourage them with praise and treats when they politely interact with others.
  • Make the commute enjoyable. Many dogs experience anxiety riding in the car due to their association with car rides and less enjoyable activities, like vet or groomer appointments. Break this association by taking your dog on some fun rides before their commute to the office. Try taking them to a dog park, dog-friendly restaurant, or drive-in restaurant to alleviate their fear.
  • Give your dog plenty of things to do. Just like us, our dogs get bored, and boredom can quickly translate into destruction or frustration. Pack some of your dog’s favorite, quiet toys (no squeakers!) and a favorite bed or blanket for them to snuggle with. Take it a step further by packing quiet puzzle toys, like KONGs, to entertain them.
  • Take your dog out regularly for bathroom breaks. Keep your dog from getting restless and having accidents by taking them out frequently to relieve themselves.
  • Keep your dog’s vaccinations and checkups up to date. If they are currently sick, do not bring them in. Not only is this stressful for your dog, but they may spread their illness to other dogs. Take your dog to regular veterinary appointments to ensure they are happy and healthy. SPOT Preventive Care* coverage helps with the cost of routine vet care so that your pup can stay in top shape!
  • Not everyone loves dogs and that’s okay. While it may be hard to imagine for us dog-lovers, some people may prefer that your pup maintain their distance. Be considerate of coworkers that are not crazy about dogs by keeping your dog clear of them. (1)
  • Create clear boundaries with your coworkers. From the start, set boundaries with your coworkers on what is okay and not okay with your dog. Your pup may be nervous or dislike strangers. They may not like someone touching their crate or toys. If possible, place a sign that is visible to coworkers stating any boundaries or preferences your dog has. (2)

Lastly, keep an eye on your dog’s emotional state. For more information, check out our piece on signs your dog is happy here.

While we’d all love to bring our dog to the office, some dogs may not be comfortable with the noise level, number of people, or the environment...and that’s okay. Above all else, your pup’s health and happiness should always be your top priority.

And if your employer doesn't allow dogs in the workplace, they may still provide pet perks in other ways. SPOT partners with employers and brokers to offer their teams up to 20% off pet insurance policies as an employee benefit.** Learn more about getting your company involved if they aren't already!

*Preventive Care available as an add-on for a little extra cost each month.
**10% employee discount coupled with 10% off additional pets, if insuring more than one.

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