The Benefits Of An Office Dog

For years, the workplace has been viewed as a serious place; business only with no frills. Perhaps nothing is a better example of this mindset than the absence of pets around the office. Other than a veterinarian, who really benefits from having a dog trotting around, hanging out by the copier or napping under somebody’s desk?

It turns out that a lot of people benefit from it. Medical science is now putting some numbers behind the longtime assertions of pet owners that their animals make them happy. Specifically, the presence of a pet has been shown lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and decrease feelings of loneliness.

Having a dog hanging around the office can be helpful in other ways too. They can provide a nice security benefit if your canine has a temperament that’s friendly with the nice people and defensive with the bad ones.

A workplace dog can also be a great icebreaker. If a first-time customer comes in and doesn’t quite feel at ease in the new environment, there’s nothing better to roll out the welcome mat than a wagging tail and a pair of puppy dog eyes.

So there’s no question that it’s a good idea to have a dog around your place of business. It’s just a question of preparing for it so that things go smoothly.

Planning For The Dog’s Health

It’s very important to watch out for your four-legged friend’s health at work. Make sure to prevent the dog from accessing any area where poisonous substances might be stored, used, or even spilled. Dogs like to sniff and taste interesting things, and sometimes they can smell and taste good even though they are potentially deadly.

Track the dog’s vaccinations, and keep an eye out for chronic illnesses, too. Your dog at home is around you every day, and your whole family is probably in tune to anything out of the ordinary. But if everybody just sees the dog a few minutes a day at work, serious illnesses can be missed. Everything from common respiratory ailments to bone cancer in dogs can go unnoticed if we don’t see the dog daily, so make sure someone volunteers to tend to the dog’s food, health, and so forth.  Keep an eye on your dog’s health, and if your dog doesn’t seem to be doing well with his current food, try feeding your dog a different food.  Better yet, finding suitable dog insurance and what this should cover will help protect them throughout their lifetime.

Making A Home Or Taking Them Home

Dogs are great stress relievers for us, but only if they’re happy themselves. We work 40 or so hours a week, but if the office dog truly lives there, it’s his or her home for 168 hours a week. In a workplace that’s not staffed 24/7, your dog will get lonely. Add in holidays and occasional closures for bad weather and other things, and your office dog can quickly be badly neglected.

Provide things in the workplace that will keep your dog happy while everyone is there. Make sure there’s a bed, maybe a couple of favorite toys, and a quiet place for a midday nap. And have a plan for those prolonged empty hours. A dog at home is alone for ten or so hours per day, so if you exceed that level at work, something needs to be done differently.

Have a dogsitting schedule. Ask employees to volunteer to take the dog home each night, and make sure that food and water are taken care of when no one will be around.

office dog flickr

Be Able To Take The Dog Away

While most workplaces with dogs on site are populated by animal lovers, not every customer or client may agree. And certain conditions like many autism-spectrum disorders create anxiety around things like overzealous dogs. There are also still plenty of people who will sneeze at the mere sight of a dog.

Make sure your dog’s presence doesn’t backfire. Don’t allow it in carpeted areas where allergens can flourish. Have a room or other space where the dog can go if customers don’t want it around. And install hypoallergenic filters in your heating and cooling to keep pet dander from circulating throughout the building.

A dog in the workplace is no longer a novelty. It’s an economically sound management decision that can be beneficial to everyone. Just make sure it’s beneficial to more than just the dog lovers. Keep things pleasant for your customers, vendors, employees, and the dog itself.


Image credit.

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