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There are three people working in an office setting while a large tan colored dog sits on the floor being pet by one of the guy.

Dogs at Work: Returning to Work With Your Dog

May 16, 2022

With more and more offices returning either back to fully in-person or hybrid work schedules at this stage of the pandemic, many millennials, gen z-ers, and baby boomers are left with a dilemma. Where do we put our dogs? Luckily, some companies are answering that question with a worthy solution. Bring them into the office, of course!

How Do Humans Benefit From Having Dogs in the Workplace?

There is no doubt whatsoever that the human-animal bond is a strong and beautiful one, but that might not be enough to convince you that canines belong at work.

Being Around Dogs Results in Lower Stress Levels

No matter the work environment or business, it is likely that heightened stress levels are quite common. Many employees and offices will also experience especially busy seasons, where stress skyrockets. Not only is this a wildly unpleasant feeling, but it can also result in productivity decreasing.

When we feel especially stressed and bogged down, that can easily lead to burnout. Burnout is nearly inevitable when we just continue to go at full speed without any rest, reprieve, or way to relieve the pressure we feel. Whether it is a particularly hectic time of year or if you just could use a furry friend by your side, dogs do wonders when it comes to stress reduction.

Studies have revealed that being in the presence of dogs can actively lower blood pressure. At the same time, it also lessens levels of cortisol in the body. Since cortisol is otherwise known as “the stress hormone,” this is a significant finding. Beyond the scientific evidence, just think about the feeling you get from being around a sweet dog. That is why a therapy dog is so effective for those in need of support. Wouldn’t it be great to feel that support at work too?

Those who are very concerned over their productivity flagging should not worry. Feeling renewed and rejuvenated is ideal for being in the right state of mind to not only get a great quantity of work done but also to get quality work done. Even if you take a few minutes here and there to dote on your best friend, the sense of job satisfaction is well worth it.

Doggy Day Care Is Often No Longer Necessary

Depending on a wide variety of factors, your pet may need to be checked into a dog daycare program during the day. If you work long hours, if your pooch is in the process of dog training, or if they are at an age where they need more constant supervision, you already know this to be true.

Unfortunately, doggy daycare can often be a less than convenient option. The service is typically expensive, and many dog owners want to know more about what their adorable pet is doing during the day. Both of these concerns are perfectly valid and are reason enough to ask about your company’s dog-friendly policies.

You Do Not Have To Worry About Bathroom Accidents

Even the most thoroughly potty-trained dogs have their moments of weakness. That being said, the absolute last thing that you want to come home to after a stressful day full of meetings is to find an accident waiting to be cleaned up. If your dog is with you, you will be able to read their signs and take them out to use the bathroom yourself. This is a far preferable alternative to returning to a pile of poop on your floor.

How Do Dogs Benefit From Being Brought Into the Workplace?

Let’s not forget about how our dog friends can benefit from this arrangement.

They Get To Be Around Their Favorite Person — You!

Dogs are friendly animals, it is literally written in their genes. As such, they crave social interaction. They especially crave this interaction with those that they love most. Chances are, your dog would be thrilled at the opportunity to spend more time with you.

What To Do Before Bringing Your Dog Into Your Work Environment

There is a fair amount of prep work to be done before your dog is ready to be brought into the office. Without going through these steps, the arrangement might not work out.

Consider if Your Dog Would Enjoy Being Brought To Work

Before considering the idea of bringing your dog into the workplace any further, there is one crucial question that you have to ask yourself. Would your dog even enjoy being at work with you? In some cases, this might be an obvious and emphatic yes. If you are a bit more hesitant, though, it is worth exploring exactly why that is.

Perhaps you have a dog who tends to be more on the shy side, so having constant new people around could be overwhelming. On the other hand, maybe dog-friendly workplaces have become so common that many of your coworkers bring in their pets, and your pooch does better alone.

Really take the time to think about who your dog is, and if their personality would mesh well with the energy of the office. Dogs with a tremendous amount of energy, or dogs who are prone to barking might not be ideal candidates either. Remember, this is a process that should benefit you, your dog, and your coworkers. Actually, speaking of your coworkers…

Make Sure That Your Coworkers Are on Board

While many of us would be happy to have a canine companion nearby during a tedious workday, you should remember that this is not necessarily the case for everybody. Some people might have allergies, phobias, or other reasons that they would prefer the workspace remain free of dogs.

It is true that this might not be the answer you were hoping to hear, but being respectful to your coworkers has to come first. Otherwise, an uncomfortable office environment could be created. From there, rising tensions and discontent are likely not far behind.

If your coworkers have any concerns over your dog coming into work with you, see if they can be discussed. For instance, if someone has any concerns over vaccinations, bring in your pet’s records. If a coworker has had an unfortunate incident with certain dog breeds, listen to their concerns, and try to come to a solution together. While a labrador might not seem overly threatening to you, it is impossible to know everyone’s past.

Get Your Dog Up to Date on Their Shots

We mentioned this briefly in the last suggestion, but it bears repeating. Before bringing your dog into a space where there could be increased social interaction with either dogs or humans, vaccinations are crucial. You can check your dog’s medical records, or call your veterinarian to double-check that your pet is all up to date. This measure will protect you, your coworkers, your dog, and any other dogs that they come in contact with, so it is a must.

Bring Your Dog to the Vet for a Check-Up

Once you have already brought your dog to their vet to get any necessary vaccinations, this is the perfect opportunity to give them a check-up too! You owe it to both your dog and your coworkers to make sure that your pet is healthy and able to be around others. Your coworkers are sure to appreciate your diligence, but you should also bring your dog to the vet regularly anyway. Talk about a win-win!

Prep the Office Ahead of Time

In order to minimize stress and make the transition as seamless as possible, you are going to want to get as prepared as you can before actually bringing your pet in with you. Otherwise, your dog could come into a situation that is not yet set up for them.

At the very least, this would result in your dog feeling under-stimulated or not having some luxuries that they are used to. At worst, there could be items left out that would be just fine for humans but could pose a real safety risk for your dog.

Before you bring your dog in, remove anything that could be at all dangerous. Any wires should be hidden, stray paper clips should be put away, and all human food should be kept out of reach. Once that is done, you can start on the more fun part — making this a fun second home for your dog!

Consider bringing in a cozy bed for your dog to snooze on throughout the day. Similarly, a few chew toys or relatively quiet playthings could go a long way to keeping your pet occupied throughout the day. Lastly, never forget the food and water bowls, or the poop bags!

During this process, also be sure that you have completed any paperwork that is necessary for you and your dog. There might be a protocol in place before pets can officially become office dogs.

Brush Up on Your Dog’s Training

Exciting tricks like “rollover,” “play dead,” or “shake” are all adorable party tricks, but they might not be very helpful in an office setting. Meanwhile, other basic commands like “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” are all imperative when bringing your pet to work. Even the most mild-mannered dog might need to be reminded to calm down every now and then. By guaranteeing that your dog has these directions down pat, you are ensuring a more positive experience for all involved parties.

A Work in Progress

From “take your dog to work day” to totally pet-friendly workplaces, bringing your dog to the office is a perk that should be taken advantage of. By following our advice, you can ensure that everyone’s well-being is prioritized.

Sources:

The Power of Pets | NIH News in Health

Why Dogs Are Friendly – It’s Written in Their Genes | BBC News

Should You Bring Your Dog To Work? Pros and Cons of Dogs in the Workplace | American Kennel Club

The Diggs Team

Dog-Loving Pet Parents

We believe our dogs deserve safer, better designed pet products.

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