Are you bemoaning having to leave your dog at home while you’re at the office all day? I understand. When I adopted my dog, Henry, I immediately started taking him to work with me. He loved it and so did everyone else. Well, I did as well. Today, let’s dig into how to bring your dog to work. These are my tried and tested tips. I will share the amazing benefits of taking your dog to work. Many of which are backed by science. Plus, I will walk you through how to successfully transition your dog to being an office pup.
*Updated: June 2, 2023
Budget Tip: While it does take a bit of planning to bring your dog to work, the benefits can be extreme. You don't need to worry about your dog at home, pay for a sitter, or doggie daycare. Plus, you get extra time to bond with your dog. Honestly, the calming benefits for your dog and the stress reducing benefits for you and your office makes bringing your dog to work an amazing win-win!
What are the benefits to your company when you bring your dog to work?
If you work in an office that does not allow dogs or pets, then you first need to know the benefits of the company changing the policy. Here are the top three benefits and they are whoppers!
WHOA! This is worth its weight in gold! It’s probably why companies like Google, Amazon, and Esty, to name a few are dog-friendly offices (or at least they were pre-covid).
While I don’t work in a brick-and-mortar office anymore, Henry did go to work with me for more than two years until I began working remotely.
It always surprised me how people would come into my rather small building looking for Henry. I’d hear the door slam and someone scream, “I NEED MY HENRY FIX!” Mind you this was a workplace, which was normally quiet. But when stress hits all bets are off, I suppose. At any rate, what they actually needed was an oxytocin (feel-good hormone) fix. But who was I to argue? Besides Henry loved his job and helping increase everyone’s oxytocin levels, including all my co-workers, vendors, my boss, and me. Somedays I swear Henry was much busier than me.
It’s funny how a dog can disarm people and put them more at ease to discuss projects that they would have kept you in the dark about or only given you bits and pieces about. I had a lot more projects and collaborations once Henry started going to work with me than I did prior to his arrival. He was my great communicator barrier buster.
3. Great for company and individuals’ health
To be honest, pet-friendly companies are probably weighing this benefit most heavily. Who could blame them?
- more breaks involving exercise, both walks or playtime
- workers are more creative and productive
- higher job satisfaction
- less sick or absent days
- lower-cost healthcare intervention (workers aren’t as sick)
These are all powerful benefits to take to your boss to boost your idea of bringing your dog to work. Of course, beware there are a few occupations where it’s not possible for your office to be a pet-friendly workplace. These include:
- restaurant industry
- hair salon industry
- some medical specialties (although a few of my doctors have an office dog)
Or any industry that is regulated to not allow animals or pets either at the state or federal level.
How to take your dog to work if there is no current policy
You believe your industry allows for dog-friendly offices. Now what?
- Ask your boss or supervisor first (you can use the benefits to show how it will help the company)
- Make sure your dog is vaccinated
- Ensure your dog is also well-groomed with trimmed nails
- A few basic dog commands are a great idea such as sit, come, stay, and let it go.
Once you’ve been given permission to make your dog an office dog, what next?
Now, that your boss has given you the go-ahead to bring your dog to work, it’s time for you to be proactive. This step makes your dog and co-workers comfortable with your dog at work. These are the 7 steps you’ll need to do to have a successful experience with taking your dog to work.
1. Dog-proof your workplace
Sometimes not much is needed to pet-proof your office. However, look at things from your dog’s eyes, especially if there are any chemicals or toxins your dog could accidentally get into. For me, I mostly needed to manage loose electrical cords that a curious dog could get tangled in under a desk. I also had to close the basement door, where nasty chemicals were stored. Truly it wasn’t that difficult.
2. Give your dog his/her workplace space
- a bed
I placed a bed and food next to my desk. However, to ensure that Henry would not get too bored I put his water dish in the kitchen. This was a small office and I could easily hear him enter the kitchen. I had a window and moved a chair so he could look out it. This was great entertainment for him. In fact, he could often see people coming to see him before me even.
3. Don’t forget your dog supplies
- toys or even a puzzle toy for extra entertainment
- dog treats
- poop bags
I often took part of Henry’s breakfast with us to work. Since he doesn’t like toys I made sure he was entertained by looking at the people traffic and walks. In fact, he often got extra walks because my co-workers would take him for walks and I would as well. He did not lack for entertainment at work.
4. Introduce your dog to all your co-workers and his/her work environment
Plan time for this step. You may be shocked at how long it can take for introductions. Also, make sure your dog is familiar with all parts of the building he/she will have access to so he won’t be scared by some odd noise or movement.
This is also the time to tell your co-workers about any restrictions your dog has or you have for your dog. For example Henry, he has a bit of a sensitive stomach. My co-workers ALL wanted to give him treats every time they saw him.
Imagine going to grandma’s house every day and getting cookies every time you saw her. Most of the time they would at least ask before giving him a treat. Honestly, I could tell, when they caved and gave him something yummy. Poor Henry would have trouble with his tummy. But he’d still be ready for work the next day.
TIP: You may want to plan to do introductions around office hours, as this can take a bit of time. At least it did with Henry, even in our small building. Everyone needed to play a bit with Henry and get to know him.
5. Make sure to plan breaks with walks and/or playtime
This will ensure your dog doesn’t get bored or have any “accidents”. Plus, it means you take breaks and clear your mind from office “clutter,” which allows you to work more productively.
Tip: I would often set an alarm to make sure I didn’t miss a walk, which can be easy to do when you dig into a work project.
6. Backup plan
There may be times when you can’t take a break or you get tied up with work projects. On those days, you will want to:
- leave your dog home
- take your dog to doggie daycare
- call a dog walker
- or ask a co-worker friend to walk your dog
TIP: You might be surprised at the number of co-workers that will volunteer to dog sit for you. I was always amazed by my co-workers when I’d say I was going to leave Henry home the next day because of a meeting. I would always have at least three co-workers say, “Please don’t! I’ll watch him.”
7. Recognize when your dog has had enough.
There may come a time when your dog doesn’t feel like going to work (perhaps he’s had surgery or is sick) or someone at your office is not open to having a dog in the office regardless of how much everyone else loves your dog. Have a plan in place if this happens.
NOTE: For me, I needed to prepare Henry for my break. He didn’t want to quit. In fact, for months when I would drive by my old building with Henry he would cry for me to stop.
Are there types of dogs you shouldn’t take to work?
Always consider your dog’s demeanor. Can your dog handle an office environment? Consider such things as:
- food/toy protective
- high energy
- jumps when greeting
- humps legs
- not potty trained
- unaltered (some work environments will be fine with intact dogs, but many prefer them to be altered as they are typically calmer dogs)
If your dog falls into one of these categories, he/she probably is not a good fit for a workplace environment.
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- Can I Dog Proof My Home and Save Money?
- Hack Lets You Easily Open Dog Poo Bags
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- 10 Benefits of Daycare for Dogs
- 17 Things to Look for in a Good Dog Walker
Summary of tips to easily bring your dog to work daily
I know Henry would say that bringing your dog to work is definitely 4 paws up! He certainly enjoyed every minute of it. In case you can’t tell, he’s a major social butterfly. My co-workers would say Henry was a huge benefit as well for the workplace environment. I’d have to agree. It was a lot easier to go to work, once I had Henry with me.
Actually, Henry went to work with me, he became almost a mascot in the office. He was the first thing people looked for when they entered the building. Henry was a great fit. I loved it as did my co-workers. I was very grateful for this experience.