Friday June 21, 2019 is International Take your Dog to Work Day. It is an annual initiative that celebrates the wonderful companionship that our furry friends provide and promotes animal adoption.

First started 1999 by Pet Sitters International, Take your Dog to Work Day has become a popular day in many countries across the globe. Not only does it commemorate the unconditional love dogs provide, it also promotes adoption from shelters and rescue groups.

Take your Dog to Work Day encourages businesses to allow dogs to come to work with their owners. It is all about promoting the many positive benefits of dog ownership.

It helps recognise the fact that having pet dogs in an office or workplace can bring encouragement, stress reduction and a whole lot of love.

“Owning a dog is known to improve our physical and mental health and we want more people to benefit from the fantastic bond that humans and dogs can form — says RSPCA South Australia spokesperson Carolyn Jones.

Take Your Dog to Work Day raises awareness of what great companions dogs make, and of their need for human company.

“We’d love it if more dogs went to work with their owners, where possible, rather than being left alone at home all day.”

dog sin the office for take your pet to work day

How pet professionals can help ensure Take Your Dog to Work Day is a smooth experience for everyone

Pet professionals can help support and promote Take Your Dog to Work Day by talking to clients about the initiative (who can then broach the subject with their employers) and allowing your own staff to bring their furry friend to work. You can even bring in your own canine chum!

Of course to ensure the day runs smoothly for everyone – you, your dog, your clients and their animals plus any staff that are taking part in the day – there needs to be a few ground rules.

Now’s the time to talk to your staff about Take Your Dog to Work Day – providing you think it’s appropriate for your business.

Start by gauge their interest and discuss how it might work.

For example, it you manage a retail store you can’t have several staff off walking their dog instead of serving customers. But perhaps each staff member could be rostered to look after the dogs for part of the day.

TTP: You never know, having your staff bring their dogs into store could be a great way to entice customers in. Particularly mums with children who love dogs!

NOTE: When planning for the event, if holding it on Friday June 22 is not possible or inconvenient then perhaps you can host the event on an alternative day of the week. A Saturday maybe?

“Take your Dog to Work Day is a fantastic opportunity for companies and businesses – no matter how small or large – to recognise the role pets play in their employees’ lives and to demonstrate their support for the important cause of animal adoption,” says Ms. Jones.

white dog sitting next to a computer

Tips to make Take Your Dog to Work Day a success

The RSPCA offers the following tips to help ensure the day’s smooth running. You can pass these advice points onto your clients if you know they’re thinking of participating in the event. And if you are thinking about allowing your staff to bring their dogs in, consider these first!

  • First check to see if bringing a dog to work is appropriate and allowed. Some work environments may not be appropriate or safe for dogs.
  • Check if anyone at your workplace is allergic to dogs, and discuss with them if bringing your dog to work would adversely impact their health.
  • Consider workplace policies and requirements.
  • Ensure your dog is currently healthy so they don’t potentially spread any infections.
  • Ensure your dog is identified (including by microchip and that your contact details are up to date on the microchip register) and up to date with their vaccinations.
  • Dogs should be socialised with other dogs and people.
  • Dogs should be trained using reward-based positive reinforcement.
  • Ensure the office environment is safe for pets. Cables, cords and rubbish bins can be hazardous for pets, so ensure dogs in the office can’t access these.
  • Make a plan that accounts for the supervision of any dogs in the workplace. Also make sure they won’t be able to escape and get lost by accident.
Golden retriever with a dog treat and pug playing tug-o-war

Making it a positive experience

It’s imperative to ensure the dog is happy in his or her new surroundings, as they too should benefit from the experience of Take Your Dog to Work Day.

If, for example, a dog is timid or nervous around strangers — then Take your Dog to Work Day might not be for them. Responsibility lies with the owner. It is the owner’s duty of care to ensure that their dog feels comfortable in the new environment.

Here are some suggestions to help ensure dogs that are brought to work – be in a pet retailer, veterinary clinic or doggy day spa, feel happy in these unusual surroundings.

Ensure the dog is exercised before arriving at work. This way the animal is more likely to settle, and hopefully won’t need to go to the toilet too often during the work day.

Remind staff to arrive at the workplace with adequate time for their dog to meet and greet other dogs and colleagues. The dogs need time to sniff out their new surroundings.

Make sure your staff bring the dog’s favourite and essential things. Such as a blanket, toy (ideally non-squeeky so not to annoy colleagues, clients or customers), dog bed, food, treats and water bowl.

Advise staff who bring their dog in to set its bed up close to themselves, so the dog feels more comfortable. In some circumstances a penned area might be required, for the animal’s safety. For example in a retail store.

brown and white spaniel sitting next to owner outdoors

Suggest staff set up a pet parent buddy program, where they nominate a fellow member of staff to look after the pet if they need to leave the office or business for any reason.

Remind staff to set aside time for toilet breaks and to take their dog outside for some exercise. What a great excuse to leave the office!

Advise staff to be prepared to clean up after their dog. New environments can be both exciting and overwhelming, causing a dog to urinate or defaecate. Hopefully this won’t happen, particularly if the dog gets walked prior to arriving at work. However, having a few cleaning products and poop bags on hand is a good idea.

Providing the dog is behaving itself, it should be rewarded throughout the day with a small doggy treat. After all, rewarding calm behaviour reinforces calmness. So add this to the list of staff reminders. Bring dog treats.

Take your Dog to Work Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the positive role dogs play in all our lives. Your staff will likely really enjoying having their fur baby by their sides. You can also use it as an opportunity to raise much-needed funds for local adoption shelters and organisations.

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Leanne Philpott

Leanne is a professional freelance writer at contentchameleon.com.au. She works alongside her fur pal Chewie (a border terrier) to deliver information that is accurate and relevant to our readers.