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Speaking of Pets: Taking your dog to work

Studies suggest bringing your pooch to the office with you can help relieve stress and boost overall workplace morale

Joan Merriam
Speaking of Pets

What do firms like Google, Amazon and a Washington, D.C., doctor’s office have in common? They all allow employees to bring their dogs to work with them.

Over a million people in the U.S. take their dogs to work with them every day.

Many employees returning to the office post-pandemic are exerting pressure on their employers to allow them to bring their dog to work. They insist that having their dog nearby helps them deal with everyday stress and anxiety as well as creating a more welcoming environment.



According to a landmark 2012 study published by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, workers who bring their dogs to work had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day. Researchers also found that dogs tend to boost overall workplace morale and lead to more open communication.

Concerns

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



First, recognize that many firms have legitimate concerns about dogs in the workplace. Chief among those is probably liability. Employers should talk with their insurer to make sure their general liability policy covers any actions caused by an animal in the workplace. People with allergies or who are afraid of dogs are other issues; dogs should never be allowed in the immediate area of anyone like this.

Promoting a dogs-allowed policy

As an employee, look at other dog-friendly companies to find out what kind of rules and regulations they have in place and how the firm has dealt with problems. Commonsense guidelines include that dogs must be clean, free of illness and housetrained; that they be well-socialized and nonaggressive; and that owners must provide proof of current vaccinations for rabies and other diseases.

Websites like Pet Sitters International and Workable have some excellent guidelines for animals in the workplace that you can easily adapt to your own place of work.

Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts to establish a pet-friendly environment are unsuccessful: whether you’re trying to convince your boss or your board of directors, just keep gathering facts to support the idea of allowing pets at work, and enlist others in the organization to endorse the idea.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever Joey and Maine coon cat Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.

 


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