Spending the day with an office dog has benefits for all involved, here's how to bring your dog to work and still be productive.
Whether you’re doing a hybrid scenario, working from the office a few days a week, or you’re in the office full-time, it’s got to be hard saying bye to your best pup in the morning. Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to work for a company that allows you to bring your dog to work so you can minimize those sad-eyed goodbyes. Or at least, we hope they celebrate Bring Your Dog to Work Day!
Spending the day with an office dog has benefits for all involved. For one, your dog won’t be bored or go through separation anxiety. It can help keep your stress levels down, too (think about being able to cuddle from your pup after a particularly difficult meeting). Plus, it can encourage you to get up and take a walk and interact with other employees you may have never met otherwise.
Tips for Bringing Your Dog to Work
Before you’ve packed their little office dog bag, though, here are some tips to keep in mind when you bring your dog to work.
Find out the rules for office dogs
Check with your human resources department to see if they have specific rules for office dogs. Many companies require that your dog be up to date on vaccines and on flea and tick prevention before they are allowed in the building. They may also have rules for when your dog is at the office, like keeping them on a leash or with you (or a nice coworker) at all times, whether they can ride in elevators, or taking them to go potty in designated areas outside. You don’t want your dog’s first day as an office dog to be their last because of one of these rules.
Consider bringing a pet pen
Yes, your dog is cute and loveable and would never hurt anyone, but not everyone knows that. You also never know how your dog will react in an office setting, so they might be too excited to meet new people, and those people may be less excited than your dog. Keep in mind that some people have a fear of dogs and don’t want to be approached or caught off guard.
You can always put up a small pet pen around your area to keep your dog enclosed, and then you won’t have to keep them on a leash. If you have dog lovers around you, they might even want to be in the dog area, too.
Set up a cozy spot for snoozing
Sounds nice, right? At least someone will get to nap while you’re hard at work! Bring along your pup’s favorite bed and blankie, and their favorite stuffies if they have any. You may also want to play some calming music or turn on white noise to help them get settled in for nap time.
Bring busy toys
Just like if you were bringing a toddler to the office, you’ll need to bring something to keep your office dog busy. They will want your attention, and you won’t be able to give it to them all day long–you still have to do your job, too.
You might even want to get a few new puzzle toys that your dog hasn’t tried yet, along with a tried and true toy like a stuffed KONG or treat toy, a favorite chew toy, or an antler if your dog is into those. That way, your meetings won’t be interrupted by repeated barks of “look at me!” and “whatcha doing?”
Be prepared for accidents
This one can be super embarrassing, for you, of course, not your dog. Imagine the excitement of bringing your dog to work, walking down a long hallway and getting ready to open the door to your office, when your dog gets into position. Yes, THAT position, looking at you with their back all hunched up. And you have nothing with you to clean it up. Don’t let this happen to you.
First, take your dog on a walk around the building to go potty before you go in. And second, get your accident cleanup kit ready before anything else. You’ll need some paper towels, poop bags, and an enzymatic floor cleaner that’s good for all types of floors. Even dogs that don’t have accidents can get super excited and forget to go potty before they get inside.
Be considerate of coworkers
If you find out that some coworkers are allergic to dogs, or not that fond of dogs (or your dog), or that your dog can’t keep from barking every time someone gets up or walks by, make sure you have a plan B. You may need to relocate if possible or even find a small meeting room where you can hang out for the rest of the day where you won’t bother coworkers. Be sure to check with everyone in the immediate area to see if they have any issues with you bringing your dog to work so you don’t hear about them later through someone else.
Every dog parent would love to turn their pup into an office dog. Just be prepared to accommodate your dog’s needs and your coworkers’ needs as you figure out what kind of office dog your best buddy will be. They might be made for the job, but it also might take a little time to adjust.
One thing that can help is keeping your pup’s routine as consistent as possible. If you feed Sundays for Dogs, it's easy to bring along to work, so lunchtime is covered. Other things don’t have to happen at exactly the same time as they would at home, but they should happen in the same order and as close to the same time as you can get. Once you and your dog get into the new routine, you’ll forget there even was a time before your dog was your coworker.