Everything to Know About a Dog-Friendly Office

At Online Optimism, every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day, which means we’re just about experts in having a pup or two running underfoot. Beyond working with woofers, I grew up with as many as five dogs in my home at one time and worked at a doggy daycare in college before becoming a Specialist here. From the benefits that should warm any CEO up to allowing a furry friend (or two) to things that aren’t often thought about when it comes to dogs, here’s a quick and easy summary of what you should know about having a dog-friendly office.

Aged photo of a young girl holding a puppy dog on hammock.
A young Meara insists her sister’s dog, Kira, be her friend.

The Benefits

So you want to bring a dog to the office? That’s great! There are many reasons this will do wonders for both the company as an entity and its employees.

Retention. According to USA Today, bringing a dog to work is viewed as an incredible perk, meaning it won’t just help attract new employees, but it will also retain the ones that are there.

Stress Relief. It’s no secret that dogs can relieve stress, and there’s no place more stressful than the workplace. A 2012 study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that over the course of the day, stress declined for groups with their dogs present, while it increased for groups with no dogs or pets.

Mental Health. Dogs in the workplace provide a feeling of comfort, and that social support is important for employees. A May 2017 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health notes that support is “a key factor in whether people with serious mental illness return to work or remain employed.”

Teamwork. Steven Feldman, executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, says that pets in the workplace contribute to employee teamwork and satisfaction and that employees are “more likely to collaborate and work better in teams because pets help forge social connections.”

Woman sitting on chair with yellow dog.
A grown Meara insists our CEO’s dog, Pimm’s, be her friend.

The Things to Have

Dish(es). Every place with a dog needs to have a place for that dog to stay hydrated. We keep a large water dish full and ready in our kitchenette, so everyone can find refreshment at the water cooler. Be wary of bringing food if there is more than one dog in the office that day—dogs can easily become territorial over their food.

Bed. Or at least somewhere that the dogs can feel comfortable relaxing when they aren’t having zoomies around the office. Our CEO, Flynn, keeps a bed next to his desk for his dog Pimm’s, but every office dog enjoys lounging out on it. Our dogs are also welcome to hang out on our signature green couch to enjoy some fresh air and a view out the windows.

Toys. Dogs want to play, and if you don’t provide something for them to tug, toss, and chew, they’ll find something on their own. Our dogs love to play with a rope tug, a Būmi Tug Toy, and, of course, stuffed animals (or you could go unstuffed). Some of the Barketing Staff love tennis balls—so much so that we often find ourselves hiding them, so buyer beware.

Garbage Cans. One lesson we’ve learned the hard way is that a nosy dog loves garbage. That means a simple can with a lid may be a necessity for each trash-producing region of the office.

The Things to Know

Human Food. If you have a beggar during a snack, there are some foods that are okay to give your dog a nibble of—cheese, most fruits and veggies, and meat being the most common. As much as dogs may love peanut butter, always make sure it’s free of the sweetener Xylitol first, and plain air-popped popcorn is okay in moderation. But for best results, Google the food before you pass it under the desk every time. Oh, and ask the owner if table scraps are allowed—someone may be trying to watch their figure.

Company poses while dog licks woman's ear.
An affectionate Pimm’s insists her owner’s employee, Meara, be her friend.

Dangerous Toys. Many popular chew toys are actually dangerous for dogs, because once they reach a certain size, they pose a viable choking hazard. I can tell you that it is all too common for a dog gnawing on a rawhide to let it slip to the back of the throat (if you’ve never stuck your whole hand into a dog’s mouth to grab a goopy treat, you are not missing out). Opt instead for dog-safe bones that get soft, swallow easily, and don’t splinter off.

CPR. If your office dog does manage to start choking, CPR on a dog is not the same as it is on a human. Take time to learn the technique with the American Red Cross or even go through a full certification! Trust me, you’ll get many thankful licks afterward.

Office Guests. Any time there’s a guest coming to your office, check beforehand that they are comfortable with dogs. If they aren’t, it might be a good time for the dogs to go out for a walk, or it may be just a day for a good doggo to stay home.

Dog-Friendly Marketers at Online Optimism

The team at Online Optimism works to make your marketing campaign as smooth as possible. Because we work with dogs, you can be confident your campaign will be done with teamwork in a low-stress environment, and our partners are always welcome to stop by and pet some furry friends. Contact Online Optimism today for more information.