Taking your dog to work has lots of benefits, from breaking the ice with colleagues to relieving stress during a long day packed with meetings. We should know—we bring our dogs to work with us every day, not just on Take Your Dog to Work Day.
National Bring Your Dog to Work Day
You may already know that Take Your Dog to Work Day is an official holiday, especially if it’s something that’s promoted at your office. This special day was created in the US in 1999 by Pet Sitters International (PSI) to celebrate dogs and help encourage adoptions. You can look forward to this day every year on the Friday after Father’s Day, which falls on June 24th this year.
If your company does not participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day, you might want to talk to your HR department about it. You can even pass along this article to help explain the benefits of bringing dogs to work (there are so many!). You can also visit the PSI website for more information, including a free toolkit to share with your employer.
Top 5 Benefits of Bringing Your Dog to Work
While your dog can’t help you do your job—unless you're a professional stick fetcher—taking your dog to work has lots of great benefits for you, your dog, and your employer. Here are five that top the list.
1. Relieve stress
Dogs are natural stress relievers. Just looking at an adorable face or petting that soft fur can help wash those worries away. There is more than anecdotal evidence to support the tension release we get from our dogs at work. A 2012 study researched the matter at a company in Greensboro, NC* and found that employees who brought their dogs to work had lower levels of stress than employees who did not have a dog by their desks. It also showed that employees who had previously brought their dogs to work went back to typical work stress levels, which increased as the day went on, when they left their four-legged friends at home.
2. Improve communication and collaboration
Dogs in the workplace can encourage conversations between colleagues and help them get to know each other on a more personal level. It can also feel easier to stop by someone’s desk to say hi to Fido before diving into more serious work-related conversation. Plus, employees might be prompted to take a stroll around the office to see the dogs, which can encourage more interaction and collaboration.
3. Promote creativity and problem-solving
Dogs bring a fun energy to an office space and can help workers feel more creative. They also require occasional walks during the day, which is a great way to take quick mental breaks. Those breaks can stimulate creative breakthroughs and inspire someone to come up with a new approach or solution to a problem they’ve been working on.
4. Enhance work/life balance
It can be tough to leave that furry face at home all week long for both the dog and the human. I know I miss my pup when I have to leave her home alone for an extended period of time.
And although she is typically a good girl while I’m away, she has been known to get into some trouble now and then. Let’s just say I’ve been greeted with some messy knocked over garbage cans after a long day at work. I was fortunate that she didn’t eat anything harmful out of that trash! That’s why I’m also lucky that most days I can bring her along to keep me company at the office.
This work/life balance benefit is also good for the employer. When I have my dog at work, I don't have to rush home to take her for a walk, feed her, or because I’m worried about what she may have been up to while left to her own devices. That means I can work a little longer, which I don’t usually mind, especially if it means I don’t have to bring work home with me.
5. Save employees money
It can be costly to leave your dog home during working hours if you need to hire a dog walker or leave your pooch at a doggie daycare. By taking your dog to work, you don’t have to worry about these expenses. Plus, it can help you avoid the costs of fixing scratched furniture, chewed up shoes, or any other damages done by a dog who was bored or frustrated while waiting for you to come home. It can also help prevent vet bills for a dog who may have swallowed a piece of those shoes.
Speaking of saving money, companies can help their employees reduce costs by adding ASPCA Pet Health Insurance to their list of voluntary benefits with a nice discount. If you’d like someone here to reach out to your company and tell them about this program and discount, let us know online now. Just provide us with a contact at your company, such as your human resource manager, and we’ll do the rest. You don’t even have to pass along your name if you’re feeling shy!
Tips for Taking Your Dog to Work
If you’re going to take your dog to work, you should make sure you have approval and understand your office’s policy on pets. You’ll also want to make sure your four-legged friend is prepared for the office environment:
- How is your dog’s health? You’ll want to make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines and free of fleas, ticks, and other parasites, like heartworms, as well as any diseases that could be passed on to other dogs.
- Is your dog fully housebroken? You don’t want any accidents in the office.
- Can your dog respond to basic commands? Your dog should be well-behaved and able to understand instructions like “stay,” “sit,” and “come.”
- Do you think your dog can handle your office environment? For instance, more reserved dogs may not do well at a loud and bustling office.
Keep in mind that dogs who are overly rambunctious or can’t be counted on to stay calm and quiet for periods of time may not make a good addition to the workforce.
Talk to Your Colleagues
It’s considerate to let your colleagues know you’ll be bringing your dog to work, especially if it’s on a day other than Take Your Dog to Work Day. You should also ask about allergies. If any of your officemates are allergic to dogs, you may be able to help avoid an allergy attack, for instance, by brushing your dog thoroughly before getting to work.
In addition, you should find out if anyone is particularly nervous around dogs. If that’s the case, you might be able to arrange a time for a calm and controlled introduction, so they can see that your furry friend is really just a big love bug.
It’s considerate to let your colleagues know you’ll be bringing your dog to work.
What to Bring
Make the day much more enjoyable for you and your dog by bringing along some supplies. For instance, you should pack:
- Food, water, and snacks—don’t forget the dishes!
- Blankets, towels, or a pet bed to make up a cozy spot for resting
- A few toys—a treat filled puzzle toy can help make the day go by
- Leash and collar with ID—you don’t want your dog to go without a “name tag”
- A brush for an occasional clean up, especially if your dog sheds a lot or you have colleagues with allergies
You may also want to consider packing a dog first-aid kit in case your pooch gets injured during the day.
Dog-proof Your Work Space
You should spend a little time dog-proofing your office or cubicle to help ensure you won’t need that dog first aid kit. Here are some things you can do to help make your workspace safe:
- Hide or tape down any phone or computer wires so your dog won’t trip or be tempted to chew on them.
- Safely store or remove small items, like pink erasers or paper fasteners, which can cause choking if swallowed by your dog.
- Empty your trashcan before your dog arrives and avoid tossing any food or potentially harmful items in it during the day.
- Move hazardous plants and flowers out of the area to prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting something poisonous.
You should also make sure you have your veterinarian’s contact information handy just in case something does happen to your dog. You’ll find these tips and more in our Infographic below. Feel free to print it out and share it.
Day in the Life of an Office Dog
So what’s a typical day like for an office dog? Here’s what I imagine my dog’s workday is like.
- Come in and greet the receptionist. **tail wagging** She knows I love a good ear scratching.
- Stop by the desk to drop off today’s toys and treats.
- Hit the break room to fill up a water bowl and say a quick hello to my friends. **more tail wagging**
- Get cozy under the desk in a warm blankie. That air conditioning is chilly!
- Wake up and head to a team meeting down the hall. I’m very important.
- Back to my blankie—that meeting was exhausting!
- Nosh on a small snack before a quick walk then back for more rest time.
- After lunch, you guessed it, more napping!
- A few more meetings, one more walk, and some time spent getting the treats out of my puzzle toy.
- Before you know it, it’s time to pack up and head home. **even more tail wagging**
- What a productive day! And how many more days ‘til Friday?
Before you go, I want to give you a quick tip. You can see all of the doggie related articles on Paw Prints by clicking on “dog” in the Tags section below. Happy reading!