The Dos and Don'ts of Bringing Your Dog to Work

13 minute read By Lucy Hughes
Reviewed by: Pawrade Team
November 21, 2022

Three dogs are seated and dressed in office attire

A move in recent years to honor work-life balance and increase morale at work has brought more flexibility in the work day, free snacks, PTO options, and the best bonus of all (but we may be biased): bringing your dog to work for some lucky employees at dog-friendly companies!

The workday can be stressful, so it’s lovely to be able to boost your spirit with happy dogs wagging their tails and putting their heads on your lap. Having dogs in your workplace can have so many amazing benefits, but you and your company should take several factors into consideration. Learn the dos and don’ts of bringing your dog to work to make it a successful experience for everyone. 

Is Bringing Your Dog to Work a New Trend? 

Bringing your dog to work may seem like a newfangled idea, but people have benefited economically, physically, and mentally from a dog’s presence in the workplace for centuries. Farmers have always utilized the strengths of herding breeds to protect and herd their livestock. Hunters have benefited greatly from well-trained retrievers, hounds, and terriers to locate, hunt, kill, and retrieve large and small game. Business owners were alerted by loyal guard dogs if anything was amiss. Royal courts have bred certain dogs to be companion lap dogs. And now, it’s your turn to reap the benefits of canine companions while you work!

Since 1999, Pet Sitters International has designated the Friday following Father’s Day each year as “Take Your Dog To Work Day.” This wildly successful day has been largely responsible for beginning the movement of bringing pets to corporate environments. 

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Positive Physical, Social, and Mental Effects of Dogs in the Office

Did you know that dogs in the workplace can significantly lower stress? Several studies have been conducted to examine the ways that the presence of dogs directly reduces stress levels. The simple act of petting a dog can release mood-boosting dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin while decreasing high cortisol levels responsible for stress. 

Dogs can also facilitate social interactions, serving as icebreakers among unfamiliar coworkers and prompting exchanged pleasantries about their own pet experiences. Colleagues may also go with you on walks with your dogs, forging stronger relationships. 

Having your dog depend on you throughout the day gets you exercising and taking frequent breaks. Both you and your dog will fall into a predictable routine. This gently forced break schedule means you won’t be sitting at your desk forgetting to eat or helps you naturally break big tasks into smaller bursts of work. You’ll be getting more steps in each day by clearing your head and spending time with your pup on a walk with less burnout. 

How dogs are great for businesses

A stress-free worker is a more productive worker, so dogs can be responsible for increasing productivity to boost a company’s bottom line. It’s hard to argue with that benefit!

Potential employees look for companies that offer benefits that align with their personal values. Allowing dogs in the workplace may even attract top talent to choose your company over another due to a pet-friendly policy. 

Having your dog come to work with you can also increase employee retention. A workplace that cares about implementing a successful dog-friendly office environment could also indicate the company truly cares about the health and well-being of the employees and their families. Job satisfaction and opinion of organizational support can increase as well when dogs are around at work. 

Coworkers who collaborate in groups with dogs present can have more effective communication skills. When coworkers are more relaxed because of a dog’s presence, they may feel more creative because their brain is not filled with as much daily stress a work environment can bring.

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Factors to Consider When Bringing Your Dog to the Office

Know your dog

Before you bring your dog to the office, you need to take a moment to evaluate your dog’s personality and readiness to be a 4-legged colleague. Think about your dog’s personality. Ideally, your dog will be a mellow, friendly, laid-back, social companion dog that is friendly with other dogs, agreeable, and listens well. Your dog should also have a low-to-medium energy level – a typical office environment is not the place for high-energy dogs needing constant stimulation and attention. 

If you know your dog is too young to be around others, then wait till they’re fully vaccinated! Young puppies are extremely vulnerable to potentially life-threatening diseases. You need to have your dog microchipped and a collar with a name and info. Some companies will even issue doggy ID badges just like their humans have! Make sure you’re following all municipal rules for required tags. 

The office is not the place for your dog if: 

  • Your dog is a barker, howler, or whiner. Don’t expect them to magically not bark when you enter the lobby!
  • Your dog is reactive to other dogs or doesn’t do well in social situations
  • You haven’t trained your dog yet with basic training or manners
  • Your dog has never been in a busy environment before without a trial run
  • You are unwilling to follow common sense and office dog-related policies

Always follow office policies!

Most dog-friendly offices should have an official policy outlining expected dog behavior, stipulations, and consequences. This policy was hopefully crafted with input from non-owners and dog owners alike and may even include legal counsel. 

Absolutely follow all office policies regarding dogs in the workplace, and don’t abuse them. Policies and procedures exist to protect you, other employees, your dog, and other dogs. In addition to office policies, follow all the building rules that may slightly differ from the office rules. 

You’ll need to understand that bringing your dog to the office is a privilege, not a right. Don’t ruin it for everyone. It only takes one dog or owner’s misbehavior for the entire policy to be scrapped – don’t be that person! 

If your office gave permission but does not have a policy, you’ll definitely want to get one in place. Work with other dog owners and non-owners, your branch manager/boss, and HR to create a dog-friendly office policy with clear expectations and consequences. 

A policy may ask you to sign a contract acknowledging you are responsible for understanding all the implications and details in the contract. Don’t be caught off guard getting so excited to sign it that you forget to read the fine print. 

A contract or policy may address the following: 

  • Amount of dogs in the office at a time
  • A rotation schedule of employees and their dogs with set dates
  • Who pays for company-owned equipment a dog may break or ruin
  • Who pays for personal items ruined or destroyed by your pup
  • Dog behavior expectations during meetings, visitors to the office, and daily activities
  • Next steps after someone (or another dog) is bitten or injured by your dog
  • Zoonotic illnesses passed between dogs and humans affecting colleagues or other dogs

Other dogs

It’s important to allow your dog to meet other office dogs in a neutral place. Introduce them slowly. Your dog may be asked to have an interview or probationary period to see if the office environment and your dog are a mutual fit. 

Your office may have a limit on how many dogs or they may have a rotation schedule so it doesn’t turn into a doggy daycare. 

Be prepared in case another dog doesn’t get along with your dog. Know the office policies for disruptive dogs or addressing dog fights. 

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Environment set up and office layout

Take a good look at the layout of your office. Is your office an open space with cubicles, rows of first-come, first-serve tables, or do you have individual offices with winding hallways?

Here are some things in your office environment to watch out for:

  • Plants toxic to dogs decorating the office
  • Locations of all wires
  • The kitchen or snack station and how food is stored there
  • Location of any candy bowls or stashes
  • Where the cleaning supplies are kept
  • Identifying all entrance and exit points and the immediate outside environment
  • If there are stairs or elevators
  • If your dog is allowed to freely roam or do you need a gate or a long lead

Your coworkers

Be aware of other people’s reactions to your dog. Not everyone is a Dog Person. It doesn’t make them bad people; it is just a preference. In fact, there may be people who might not have been consulted about the policy but don’t want to necessarily leave a job over it. 

There are lots of reasons for someone not to want a dog in a professional environment that has nothing to do with being a “bad person.” They may have to now take allergy pills. They may like dogs but don’t think they belong in the workplace, thinking it is an unprofessional distraction. There may be cultural and religious differences for those who view dogs as outside, unclean animals. Some people are afraid of dogs and could claim a hostile work environment. 

Be very self-aware

Of course, you love your dog more than anything, but not everyone will reciprocate those feelings. Coworkers can bring up situations involving your dog where your first reaction may be to get defensive. However, you need to listen to what they have to say. 

Be conscious of the overall office vibe surrounding your dog’s presence in particular as well as all the dogs overall. Respect people’s boundaries. Please don’t be blind to any problems your dog has. Do something about it! Don’t shrug your shoulders in a “Well, that’s just what puppies do” nonchalant attitude. It will be a quick road to resentment from the other dog owners and non-dog-owning employees.

Other people may have unsolicited opinions and advice and may think you’re doing something wrong. They may treat their own dogs differently.

If your dog keeps hacking and yakking, it’s distracting. While you may think it’s cute your dog makes snoring, belching, and grunting noises, not everyone wants to hear that.

Not everyone knows what’s toxic to dogs, so it’s important to educate them. People may feed your dog their lunch or extra treats, causing upset doggy stomachs and even obesity. They may keep gum or candy with xylitol in a bag or drawer that puppies can reach. Inform your coworkers of your dog’s particular needs as well as items harmful to dogs if ingested.

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Be proactive and courteous

Bringing your dog to the office is a bigger responsibility than just showing up with your dog. It takes planning! Get up earlier and exercise your dog in the morning to tire out your dog and get out any zoomies. Take out your dog frequently so they don’t go to the bathroom inside. Accidents will happen, but patterns aren’t cool.   

Be courteous. No barking on phone calls! Dogs could be a distraction, but your coworkers are depending on you to be proactive. If clients come into the office, they may not be used to dogs in the office, so keep them away until you confirm they are welcome to the idea.

In addition to client visits, know when any big meetings and projects are so you can plan around them accordingly. Find a trusted coworker buddy to watch over your dog when you have periods of time in meetings or times when you absolutely must concentrate on the task at hand. Always return the favor for looking out for their dogs as well. Understand there are times you’ll need to just leave your dog at home.

Know where the nearest emergency vet is. Your dog could ingest xylitol and that moment is not the time to start Googling emergency vets near me. Know animal control in case your dog escapes and gets picked up. Do you have a plan for when the whole office goes out to lunch and you can’t take your dog with you? Keep an extra set of professional clothes in case of accidents. 

Grooming and cleanliness

You cannot let your dog’s cleanliness and grooming needs slide. If your dog smells, then find out why your dog is stinky and bathe it immediately – no one wants a wet, smelly dog odor permeating the office. In addition, an ungroomed dog with overgrown nails tippy-tapping on the floor can be a huge distraction to coworkers and will actually increase stress levels.

We cannot emphasize this enough – always clean up after your dog! Do not ever leave any messes for the custodial staff to clean, as it’s extremely rude and inconsiderate. Because industrial cleaners can be toxic to dogs, bring in your own cleaning kit containing non-toxic, dog-friendly cleaning solutions, plenty of poop bags, your own paper towels, and clean the water bowl area daily. 

Let’s talk about pet hair! Whether your dog has a short single-hair coat or a thick double coat, your dog will shed. Even a low-shedding dog can drop some hairs here and there. Provide lots of lint rollers and other hair-removal items for people to use freely. Again, don’t let your dog shed all over the office and assume the office cleaning staff will take care of it. You may even bring in your own broom or stick vacuum to sweep up hair. 

Train your dog for the office environment

You may have gotten a “pandemic puppy” but didn’t have access to resources that are available in normal times, like in-person puppy kindergarten or hands-on training sessions. This means there could be a whole generation of dogs 2 years old or so that didn’t have that foundation, and you need to be aware of if your dog needs formal training before going into the office. Bringing your dog to work just cold turkey where your puppy hasn’t been in a social situation like this is not the first time to drop them in the deep end and hope for the best. 

You must train your dog! No one likes an ill-behaved dog that jumps up, knocks the stack of TPS reports out of your hand, spills the intern’s tray of hot coffees everywhere, steals lunches, gets into the office chocolate stash, chews on wires, and swallows who knows what they found on the floor.

Teaching your dog the Place command where they retreat to and stay at a certain location is one of the most important commands your dog can learn. Set up a cozy home base, whether at your desk or in a tucked-away corner with plenty of mentally stimulating toys. Keep treats on hand to reward good behavior.

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Which Companies Allow Dogs? 

There is no one-size-fits-all model for a typical workplace allowing dogs. From small businesses to large multinational corporations, a dog can be found hanging out near the water cooler for the latest doggy gossip. The following major corporations have or have had dog-friendly workplaces and even feature services such as partially paid pet insurance, rooftop play areas, professional pet photoshoots, doggy daycare, dog water fountains, onsite walking services, outdoor pens, and grooming services: 

  • Amazon
  • Autodesk
  • Ben & Jerry's
  • Build-a-Bear
  • Chewy
  • Cliff Bar
  • Electronic Arts
  • Etsy
  • Google
  • Ibex Outdoor Clothing
  • Klutz
  • Lafarge
  • Construction Materials
  • Nestlé Purina
  • P & G Pet Care
  • Replacement LTD
  • Rover
  • Salesforce
  • Softchoice
  • Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • Uber
  • Zynga

Find a Pawrade Puppy to Take to Work

From the tiniest Yorkie to the gentle Bernese Mountain Dog, Pawrade has a wide variety of puppies for sale to be your beloved office darling. Let your Pawrade dog be the star of the office! 


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Lucy Hughes

Lucy Hughes has been teaching and writing professionally for half her life. She has a passion for helping people choose a puppy and lead an exciting life with their new furry companion. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and her beloved Golden Retriever, Bowie.

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