For one special day, many lucky dogs across the country will be heading to the office with their owners for “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” Friday, June 23, marks the 19th annual celebration of this event created by Pet Sitters International. The event encourages employers to experience the joys of pets in the workplace for one day to support their local pet community and promote adoptions.
Below are some tips for a successful Take Your Dog to Work Day:
- Check around with your immediate neighbors to see if they have an allergy to dogs. Some people have severe allergies to pet dander that can cause asthma symptoms, swelling of the face, and severe itching or rashes. This doesn’t mean Fido can’t come with you—but consider trading offices or desks with a co-worker to give your sneezing neighbor a break.
- Make sure your workspace is a safe haven for your dog before your four-legged best friend comes for a visit. This means cleaning up any food (both on top of and under your desk), finding a new home for the day for your plants, and removing or organizing any loose wires. And if you’ve got a puppy, remember to bring some chew toys so he doesn’t decide to find his own, i.e., your chair. 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 toxic to your pooch.
- Just because you love your four-legged fur-child, not everyone will feel the same way. A dog in the office will attract all the animal lovers within a 500-foot radius. Let them come to you and do not force your dog on people who may be trying to work or would rather admire Fluffy from a distance. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for both your neighbors’, and dog’s, comfort and for your peace of mind.
- Prepare a doggie bag including food, treats, bowls, toys, a leash, paper towels, clean-up bags, and pet-safe disinfectant. Keep water and healthy treats on hand for your dog throughout the day, as your dog will probably be thirsty from all the excitement of going to work with you. And rather than risk an upset tummy from lunch leftovers doled out by your well-meaning co-workers, keep a baggy with some favorite treats for those that want to dote on your dog.
- Be sure your dog’s shots are current, and make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before accompanying you to work. Keep in tune with your dog and be mindful of your dog’s “work-readiness.” Some may bask in all the attention and revel in fast-paced office life. But others, including older dogs, may be overwhelmed by all the stimuli. If your dog begins acting anxious or panting excessively, give him a little break in your office or under your desk. If bringing him to the office is a goal, work with a trainer in a class or private setting first until your dog is ready. Similarly, if you have a dog that you know ahead of time will react badly to office life, it’s probably best to leave him at home and bring a picture instead.
- Bring something comfy for her to lounge on. Eventually—probably around the time of that big staff meeting nobody has prepared for—the novelty of having a dog in the office will wear off for your co-workers. So bring a bed, a fluffy blanket, or a crate to stash beside your chair or under your desk where Snookums can hang out and watch you work.
- Plan your pet’s feeding times and bathroom breaks 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. Take care of bathroom needs before you come in to work and at regular intervals during the day to avoid any accidents. Your boss was kind enough to allow your dog to join you for the day, so you don’t make him or her withdraw the offer next year.
- Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy Take Your Dog to Work Day, 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.
- And finally—have fun! Bringing your dog to work with you has many benefits. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, nearly one in five companies allows their employees to bring their dogs with them to work on a regular basis.
For more information about Take Your Dog to Work Day, including a list of fun celebration ideas, please visit the Pet Sitters International website: www.petsit.com/takeyourdog.
Amber Slaughter, DVM
Medical District Veterinary Clinic