Dogs in the Workplace

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Table Of Contents

Dogs have a certain way of healing. When our children left for college, we felt empty. We immediately went out and got two dogs. The whole atmosphere instantly changed, and the unconditional love that those dogs provided filled our home.

Bringing dogs into any environment has a positive effect. Dogs are a constant reminder of how life is supposed to be.They bring us back to fun, show and demand affection, and bring people together by providing common interest. Having dogs in the workplace can have that same effect. It offers us the opportunity for unity with coworkers by bringing a bit of fun and joy to an otherwise ordinary day. This shared interest brings us closer together and makes relationships stronger, allowing us to work better together.

More and more companies are allowing employees to bring their dogs into the workplace. Employers that provide this benefit often see improvements in performance and office social interactions. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed the many benefits, and some potential issues, that an employer should consider.

Dog owners are often among the most dedicated and committed people on the planet. Creating a productive environment that also allows them to experience the joy their dogs bring can build a bond with employers like none other, which benefits everyone involved (including the dogs).

Benefits of Allowing Dogs At Work

A survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed that there are 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats in the United States, that people consider to be part of their family.

As an employer, when you allow dogs in the workplace, you are using one of the best recruiting tools available to keep your employees long term. Pets in the office reduce stress and provide joy, and employees produce at a much higher rate when they are feeling relaxed and comfortable at work. If you want your employees to work longer hours and have fewer absences, allowing their pets in the office can help. Companies such as Google, Etsy, and Amazon are leading the way to enable their employees to bring their dogs to work.


Evidence shows that dogs provide social support, increase social interactions, and reduce stress in the workplace.

Researchers have been investigating the role of pets in stress reduction by monitoring the cardiovascular responses of human subjects. Heart rates and blood pressure were significantly lower when a pet was present. Several tests conducted on having dogs in the workplace have supported a reduction in stress. Employees who didn't take their dogs to work experienced higher perceived stress than employees who did. Further, when employees who regularly brought dogs to work left them home, their stress levels increased. Additional studies conducted allowing friends and family members at work did not produce the stress-relieving effect that their dogs did.


Employees who brought pets to their workplace and showed significant improvements in their work and overall performance. Studies have shown lower heart rates in these employees and an increase in arithmetic and speech ability. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, researchers found that man's best friend reduces stress and makes a positive difference for employees. It cites things like morale-boosting effects as well as burnout prevention --- things corporations and employers are very concerned about.


The Nationwide/HABRI study shows that 9 out of 10 employees are loyal to employers that offer pet-friendly benefits. They feel very connected to their company and are engaged in their work. In non-pet-friendly workplaces, less than 65% feel the same way. The report claims that not only are employees more likely to stay with their employers, and they also have better relationships with their boss and co-workers.


Employers should know that 91 percent of employees who work for pet-friendly companies feel engaged in their work versus only 65 percent in non-pet-friendly companies. Further, 83 percent of employees who have a pet-friendly environment feel their work is rewarding versus 46 percent who work in non-pet-friendly places. If given a choice, 88 percent of employees who work for pet-friendly companies would recommend their place of employment to others versus 51 percent of non-pet-friendly companies.


When employees are lucky enough to have a pet-friendly environment, 88 percent stay with the company for the next 12 months versus 73 percent who work in non-pet-friendly environments. And, 72 percent of employees who work for pet-friendly companies would decline a job offer with another company versus 44 percent of employees who work for a non-pet-friendly company. Over 90 percent of employees who work for pet-friendly companies feel that their physical health and mental wellness are supported versus 59 percent who work in non-pet-friendly companies.


Having dogs in the workplace promotes healthy interactions among employees. There is an increase in conversations and an overall enhancement of the work environment. Employees find common ground or interest that brings them closer together. Research conducted on examining the effects of animals in the workplace showed more conversation, smiling, and laughing compared to a dog-free environment. Another study proves that dogs increase social interactions and improve moods. Dogs seem to promote more authentic interactions among employees. Dogs Decrease Stress at Work, a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, revealed that 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats that people consider to be part of their family.

Potential Issues with Dogs in the Workplace


Distraction seems to be the number one disadvantage cited for having dogs in the workplace. However, this appears to be debunked, and most distractions are minimal and ultimately have a positive impact on the overall environment.

At first, the excitement that dogs bring to the office may be a distraction them from work tasks. But, in time, it has been proven that this is an initial novelty and is only a temporary decrease in productivity. Once the employees become accustomed to the dogs being present, their productivity comes back to normal.

Puppies, for obvious reasons, could be a significant distraction. Dogs should be at least 12 months old before being allowed in the workplace. Having a private conference room where employees can have meetings free of pets is also crucial.

The benefits of having dogs in the workplace far outweighs any of the distractions. These interactions with pets in the workplace provide so many positive outcomes and improve the work environment.


A lot of people have allergies to pet dander and it can cause some problems for employees and suppliers that are on the premises. As part of your pet policy it's a good idea to develop a questionnaire that everyone can fill out. Getting their feedback will show that you are considerate of everyone's situation. It's possible that you can implement a few days where employees are allowed to work from home on pet-friendly workdays.


Make sure that pets who are allowed at work are clean and well-groomed. Employees who bring their dogs to work should keep them brushed well so they shed less. Cleaning up any mess promptly and efficiently is key.


If your dog is going to be allowed at work he is going to have to be under your control. Barking, growning, or whining, simply can't be allowed. Any loud and ongoing disruption in the workplace should never be allowed.


No one wants a dog jumping up or nosing them at work. Some people may even be fearful of dogs. Dog manners need to be taught and are a reflection of their owner. Employees need to be responsible and accountable for their dogs behavior. Many people send their dogs to training schools to teach them how to behave. Most areas have dog training classes and programs available. Some require you dropping your dog off for several weeks. If you are going to bring your dog to work, it is a good idea to have them well trained. The success of your pet-friendly environment depends on your cooperation and consideration of all of your co-workers.


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The size of dogs allowed in the workplace is something that has come to light as this new concept has evolved. It is found that dogs that are over 25 pounds should not be allowed to roam free in the workplace. Sizeable dogs knock over waste cans, brush things off of desks and overall create more mishaps then small dogs do. Many companies are adding the stipulation to their pet policies that dogs over 25 pounds have to be on a leash.

Examples of Dog-Friendly Workplaces

Google, Amazon, and Etsy have well-publicized policies that permit employees to bring their dogs to work.


"Amazon's dog-owning employees can buy lunches ranging from flank steak to pet-friendly, cream-filled cannolis at Just Food for Dogs. And when their humans have to go into meetings, the pooches head to in-house doggy day-care, where they get pampered." --- Forbes

In the Seattle Amazon Headquarters, you will find dog-sized water fountains next to the regular fountains, dog treats at reception areas, and waste-bag dispensers outside the building.


Google bases a pet-friendly policy on respect and consideration for other employees. They have in the past declared that they were in fact "a dog company".

Google wants to keep its employees as happy as possible. The only stipulation is for the health and well being of employees and visitors, and they discourage bringing cats because of the significant dog presence, but they do not prohibit it.

They have found an abandoned part of the office floor, a perfect place to toss a ball. They manage to go on afternoon walks, an ideal poop opportunity for the dogs.

On Reddit, Google's pet policy got nothing but rave reviews. It seems everyone is cheering google on for their pet-friendly attitude at work.


Etsy has found that having dogs in the workplace promotes a casual, friendly, creative, and inspiring work environment. It has founded a community of connection, and that is what Etsy is all about.

Having the dogs at work has created this funny, anxiety-free environment that has everyone's spirits high. Even those who were never a big fan of dogs are enjoying having them in the workplace. One employee says, "The cute goofy behavior of dogs is a good reminder that nothing is such a big deal, even if a work thing is stressful at the moment."

When stress decreases, there is an increase in joy, that improves focus, productivity, and creativity. The laughter and lightness brought into the workplace by dogs do amazing things.

How To Create an Office Pet Policy


Employers who are considering allowing dogs at work should make sure that they have a pet policy in place. It doesn't have to be complicated; it just needs to cover a few basic things:

  • The dog owner is in control of their pet at all times.

  • Require documentation of vaccinations.

  • The owner of the dog has comprehensive liability insurance.

  • The dog needs to be well behaved, housebroken, well-groomed, and no barking.

  • No dogs under 12 months old allowed at work.

  • Consider a 3-strike policy. If the dog has three complaints, they won't be allowed back.

Pet policies seem to vary slightly from one company to the next, especially with regards to liability. Some states say that any person who is in possession of a dog can be held responsible for it. Other states say the owner is responsible. The above criteria are pretty standard among the companies we looked at that allow dogs at work. This is a relatively new concept and still in the process of being formed. No standardized pet policy is documented except use common sense, safety, hygiene, and good communication when considering allowing pets in your work environment.

An extensive study reviews the benefits and potential challenges you could face if you allow dogs in your workplace. Educating yourself is the best way to develop a pet policy that is both safe and sensible. The two tables linked below will give you some guidelines as you assess how you will evaluate your pet policy.


If you are planning to allow pets in your workplace it is recommended that you discuss it with your landlord prior to renting or enacting a pet policy. Your landlord may require an additional security deposit to account for any potential damage. Open communication can reduce any potential surprises and unpleasant interactions.

Your landlord will likely not be held liable, except when, according to, the landlord knew that a dog was dangerous and did not take action.

"In general, courts hold a landlord liable only if the landlord: knew the dog was dangerous and could have had the dog removed; or. "harbored" or "kept" the tenant's dog---that is, cared for or had some control over the dog."


Always check with your own insurance company, but also consider providing liability insurance information to keep you and your employees protected, should anything unexpected happen.

When you are looking for pet insurance you need an insurance company that provides liability insurance. Most pet insurance companies do not cover you in the event that your dog injures another dog or a person. However, Brooks Braithwaite (Sussex) Limited offers a specific liability insurance policy for individuals who are taking their dogs to the office during the work day. Brooks Braithwaite is a UK startup and has disrupted the insurance industry as it announced that it will be the leading broker of insurance for pets and pet businesses. The company has received regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority.

The cost of pet liability insurance is determined by the level of coverage you need, but the rates from Brooks Braithwaite start at under $100 a year. Some suggestions for coverage are $100,000 liability and $1,000 for no-fault medical payments, but if you can afford it then to be safe have $300,000 liability and $5,000 for no-fault medical payments.

Pet policies seem to vary slightly from one company to the next especially liability. Some states say that any person who is in possession of a dog can be held responsible for it. Other states say the owner is responsible.

So the big question is, "Who is responsible if a dog bites someone, damages property, or causes an injury at work?" This seems to vary from state to state. There is no set law for everyone across the board. The only way you can be completely safe is to have employees that bring their dogs to work provide you with a certificate of proof of insurance. Then just to be doubly safe, have liability insurance yourself to cover any damages to the office or personal injuries.

Bottom Line


It may be a good idea to test it out first to see if your company will benefit from a few furry companions, consider a test run. A good idea for companies considering allowing pets at work is to create a Dog Calendar. Employees can schedule a day to bring their dogs to work, and only three dogs are allowed on any given day. It is an excellent way to try it out and see how it goes. This trial run will provide you with the same benefits of a pet-friendly workplace without a full-time commitment. If things go well allowing dogs into your workplace may become a regular benefit. By using this trial you will be able to develop an appropriate pet policy based on what you learn.


Employers need to examine the cultural well-being and psychosocial benefits to weigh out the pros and cons. Bringing dogs to your workplace can be a great uplifter to your employees, maintain longer employee relationships, and improve employee interactions. Trust and communication combat stress and promote productivity, leading to improved morale and reduced absenteeism. Furthermore, reduced stress means fewer stress-related ailments and the healthcare costs that accompany them.

Dogs bring unconditional love, tolerance, affection, and make our world a better place. Make no bones about it, dogs may be the best morale booster an employer could ever have.


If all else fails and your employer won't consider having dogs in your workplace, you could consider working from home, or updating your resume to begin your search for another job. If you need help with your resume, check out our guide to the best resume writing services.

Additional Resources

  • The Federation of Insured Dog Owners (F.I.D.O) is a new organization that was launched to cover Canine Liability Insurance for any breed of dog. Their policies will cover any breed and protect pet owners if their dog bites someone and causes harm. Policies start as low as $75 per year.

  • Einhorn Insurance Agency is a unique pet liability insurance company that it will cover a dog even if it has a history of aggression. They have sympathy for dog owners and realize that not every breed which is categorized as a "Dangerous Dog Breed," is necessarily a bad dog. Nice to know there is an option if you have had an incident and aren't able to get liability insurance to cover your dog.

  • Lester Kalmanson Agency, Inc. can help you if your present homeowners policy is threatening to drop you or exclude dog liability because you are a pet owner. They will do so in one of two ways. Either they will write you a new homeowners policy or a dog liability policy that you can take to your present homeowners provider to prove you have insurance for your dog. If you own a dog on the CDC list of dogs that bite, but your dog hasn't bitten anyone, then you can expect to pay under $1,000 a year for coverage up to $100,000, with a $1,500 deductible. If your dog is on the CDC list and has bitten someone you can expect to pay more if you are able to get insurance at all."

  • Evolution Insurance Brokers customizes policies to meet insureds needs. Coverage starts at $350 plus fee and tax at a limit of $100,000 in most cases. Rating will be based on breed, weight, State, history and other underwriting factors.

  • will provide insurance for every breed of dog, even dogs with a bite history. Rates start at just $10 a month and coverage amounts range between $10,000 and $300,000. The price will depend on breed, weight, bite history, and other factors. Deductibles are from $250 - $2500 depending on the type of policy.

  • Banfield Pet Hospital conducted an extensive study on dogs in the workplace. They called the study the PAWrometer. They created a Pets at Work barometer from their survey. Read the complete study.

  • Dogs in the Workplace: A Review of the Benefits and Potential Challenges. Read the complete study.

  • Preliminary Investigation of Employee's Dog Presence on Stress and Organizational Perceptions. A copy of the study is available by contacting