by: Beth Stultz
A new survey of more than 1,000 pet owners by Pet Sitters International (PSI) found that pet-friendly workplace policies were considered a benefit by 78 percent of pet-owning employees surveyed. These employees also feel that pets have a positive impact on the work environment—82 percent felt pets help reduce stress at work and 63 percent felt pets also promoted interaction and collaboration between co-workers.
Since 1999, PSI’s Take Your Dog To Work Day® has given businesses a good reason to experience the joys of pets at work—even if just for one day—to celebrate dogs and promote their adoptions. The entire week leading up to the day is Take Your Pet To Work Week® so other types of pets can take part in the celebration as well. PSI offers a free downloadable Take Your Dog To Work Day Toolkit for those interested in participating.
Before taking your dog to work on Take Your Dog To Work Day (or any other day), keep these best practices in mind:
1. Do an office check. No one will mind your dog being in the office, right? Well, maybe. Check with management and co-workers to see if anyone is allergic, afraid of or opposed to you taking your dog to work on this special day. Be respectful of those you work with and plan an alternate celebration, if necessary.
2. Puppy-proof your work space. If you plan on working with your dog, make sure your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants, hide electrical cords and wires and secure toxic items such as correction fluid and permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of paw’s reach.
3. Make sure Fido is fit for work. Be sure your dog’s shots are current. Make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before accompanying you to work. Be mindful of your dog’s “work-readiness.” You know your dog’s demeanor, so if he is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave him at home. If your dog has shown fear, irritability or aggression, or if your dog has never met strangers, the workplace is not the best place for him.
4. Prepare a doggie bag. Include food, treats, bowls, toys, a leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind.
5. Plan your pet’s feeding times carefully. During an important sales call is probably not the best time for a puppy potty break. Plan your dog’s feeding time around your work schedule and be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.
6. Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Dog lovers will make themselves known. Be mindful of fellow employees’ time and space. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is being given from your co-workers. Remember that chocolate, candy and other people food should not be shared with dogs and that not all non-dog owners will be aware that these items can be very toxic to your pooch.
7. Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy being with you at work, your pet may not. Should your dog become overly boisterous, agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him or her home or plan in advance for your professional pet sitter to offer a midday check-in visit. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work.
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