Pets in the workplace: why an office dog is a good idea

Research has shown that brining your four-legged friend to the office can improve staff wellbeing and productivity.

Imagine working alongside canine colleagues? Well, some companies out there allow pet parents to bring their pooch along to the office.

Many small businesses today have an office dog, to hang around during working hours with the important role of boosting the teams’ morale.

Although most companies are yet to allow pets to come to work, it’s a growing trend, and there is even a Bring Your Dog to Work Day, which will take place on 23rd June this year.

Generally, businesses with creative, open working environments are more likely to allow an office dog – and the presence of the canine in the workplace is thought to help improve the office culture.

Apart from many small businesses, large innovative companies such as Google, Zynga and Purina don’t just allow an office dog – they encourage dog owners to bring their furry family members to work every day. The aim is to improve work-life balance, manage stress and improve productivity.

Nestlé’s corporate headquarters near Gatwick allows its 1,000-plus employees to bring their dogs to work daily. The company established a “pawthorisation” process that requires employees to complete a detailed questionnaire about their dog’s habits and behavioural evaluations. An independent dog specialist then examines this.

If everything is in order, the dog joins Nestlé’s PAW (Pets at Work) programme and gets its own “passpawt”.

Employees can choose if they want to bring their canine colleagues to meetings in designated dog-friendly rooms and even have the option to let them stretch their legs in garden specifically created for them.

Forbes, an employee at Nestlé’ and owner of Reggie the beagle says: “It’s like having a member of your family in the office. There’s something about it that feels so right.”

Nestl̩ also owns the pet food brand; Purina Рthus presenting the company as one that is dog friendly. This is great for PR and also attracts animal-loving employees which makes perfect business sense.

Forbes believes that “the atmosphere in the office is warmer now and more sociable.” She adds: “People will stop you in the corridors to stroke your dog so you start talking to someone in a different part of the company who you’d never normally have spoken to, or have only encountered over email.”

Gemma Gillingham, owner of Max the Labrador cross, agrees: “People will ask to come and see him, and find out where you sit. You end up getting to know so many people in different parts of the business, which can be useful.”

According to research by, about 8% of employees in the UK are allowed to take their dogs to work.

Mars Petcare – who own Pedigree, Whiskas and Sheba – started allowing employees to bring pets into the office in 2008.

Allowing dogs in the workplace is believed to boost morale and lead employees to think better of the company that is offering the benefit – and what’s better it costs employers next to nothing.

While an office dog or canine colleague may not be practical for every business, many companies have seen that they help employees bond, motivate good work and bring talent to their business.

Apart from bringing your pooch to the office, employees at Brewdog are allowed to take puppy parental leave.

You may just one day find yourself typing away in your office alongside a border collie.




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