by Hailey Hudson
Pet-friendly offices are awesome for both you and your dog, and they’re becoming fairly common, too — 7% of employers allow pets in the workplace, with that number rising year over year. Taking your dog to work for the first time can be stressful, however. Here are seven things you need to know and do to make sure the experience is a smooth one for all parties involved — canine and otherwise.
1. Make Sure Your Office Is Safe
Don’t assume that your office is safe just because it’s marked as pet friendly. Items such as poisonous plants, electrical cords and permanent markers can be extremely dangerous for your dog.
Do a careful walk-through of your office and remove any potential dangers; paper shredders, for example, should always be turned completely off. You’ll also want to keep your dog away from garbage cans and away from your coworkers’ bags (which might be filled with toxic-to-dogs items like Ibuprofen or chocolate).
2. Prep Your Dog
Your fuzzy BFF is well-suited to be an office dog if he or she is friendly, enjoys meeting strangers and knows how to behave. If you feel like your dog doesn’t meet these criteria, spend a few months socializing him or her with new people. It pays off to work on basic commands like sit, stay and down before heading into the workplace, too (the last thing you want is your dog wandering around and distracting everyone during an important meeting). Finally, you’ll also want to make sure your dog is up to date on its shots and is well-groomed.
3. Do a Trial Run
If your office is pet friendly, your coworkers are probably already used to having dogs around. But if you have any specific instructions that apply to your pet (such as no treats), make sure to explain those ahead of time. And if your coworkers bring their own dogs to work, do a trial run outside the office to let your dog meet all of its new office mates. You’ll also want to check with your boss about emergency procedures (such as a fire drill) and ask what provisions have been made for pets in the case of an emergency.
4. Consider Transportation
Part of bringing your dog to work is getting there. Driving with your dog is easy; walking is even better. Public transportation with a dog, however, can present some challenges. Check with your city to see if dogs are allowed on buses and/or trains — in most cases, they are, but they’ll need to remain crated or leashed for the duration of the ride. And if you take Uber or Lyft, ask your driver ahead of time if bringing Fido is okay.
5. Pack Up
There are several supplies you’ll need to pack to bring your dog to work:
- Bed and/or blanket
- Toys (no squeaky toys to be respectful of your coworkers)
- Clean-up bags and a scooper
- Dog calming treats
These items can help ensure your dog is happy and content while you get your to-do list done. And if your pet tends to run on the nervous side, talk to your vet about whether taking some dog calming chews to the office might be helpful just in case. If they give you the all-clear, try incorporating a CBD tincture or chew like the ones from Heelr to help keep your pet feeling relaxed while the two of you run from one meeting to the next.
6. Schedule Your Day
Your workday might look a little different when you bring your dog to work. You’ll need to schedule in bathroom breaks to take your dog outside periodically. If you have time during your lunch break for a walk or a quick game of fetch, even better! When you need to focus, create a designated spot for your dog with something familiar from home (like their crate or bed) so they can relax.
7. Be Flexible
Finally, recognize that things might go wrong. Your dog might become aggressive, uneasy or scared in the unfamiliar environment of your workplace. If you get to work only to discover they’re not cut out to be an office dog after all, don’t force anything. Take your dog home on your lunch break or call someone to come pick them up if you can’t leave.
With a little preparation, you and your pet can take on the workday together. Use these tips to bring your dog to work with ease!
Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes for clients such as PetFirst Pet Insurance and Just Labs Magazine with a focus on pet health. When she's not writing, she's snuggling with her dog who acts like a cat or chasing around her cat who acts like a dog.