One of our favorite days of the year arrives the Friday after Father’s Day – National Take Your Dog to Work Day. On June 25, 2021, your beloved dog will be treated to some extra time with you during your workday, with the permission of your employer, of course.
National Take Your Dog to Work Day has existed since 1999 thanks to Pet Sitters International (PSI), which pitched the idea as a clever way for work colleagues to fall in love with their co-workers’ dogs and encourage more adoptions. With nearly 4 million dogs brought to U.S. shelters every year, this is an excellent way for employers to show they care about a worthy cause while also supporting enhanced employee interactions over the temporary guests to the office.
As veterinarians, we understand this day is exciting for dog owners, but we also know that it can be anxiety-provoking. While it’s a beautiful feeling not to have to bid farewell to your doggo for one day, a full eight hours or so at the office comes with some concerns. Following are tips for determining if your dog is ready for a day of constant attention in a new environment, and if so, ensuring it doesn’t end with a trip to the vet or disgruntled coworkers.
Consider Your Pet’s Personality and Demeanor
If your employer has given the green light for Take Your Dog to Work Day, first consider if your dog is ready for a day of constant attention and interaction with other dogs.
If your dog has any of the following traits, they might be happier at home or not a good candidate for a day at the office:
- Aggressive with other dogs
- Territorial of food or toys
- Prone to jumping on people
- Has nipped or bitten other dogs or people
Check Your Work Calendar First
It would be a worst-case scenario to arrive at work with your dog, only to realize you have a packed schedule or a long meeting that requires your undivided attention. If you’re in the unexpected situation of needing to hand off your dog to a coworker while you tend to business, that could leave your dog very anxious and unsettled. Plan ahead and rearrange your schedule so your dog can stay close to your side.
Make Sure They’re Trained
To successfully make it through an entire day in your office, your dog must be potty-trained and respond consistently to basic behavior commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” In addition, a professional environment – especially one with other dogs around – requires obedience to minimize disruptions for the sake of your coworkers.
Pack All Necessary Supplies
In your excitement to bring your dog to work, it might be easy to forget the essentials your dog will need over eight hours. Pack a bag that includes:
- Serving(s) of food equivalent to what they would have eaten at home (and a bowl!)
- Water, in a dog water bottle for easy dispensing, if you have one
- Leash & poop bags
- Treats to reinforce their good behavior in an unfamiliar environment
- Favorite toys to occupy their time
- A comfy blanket or dog bed for a much-needed nap
- Cleaning supplies just in case an accident happens
Check for Workplace Dangers
Before Take Your Dog to Work Day arrives, take a quick tour of your office with your dog’s safety in mind. Look for potential hazards such as plants that may be toxic if eaten, cleaning products that are easily accessible, exposed cords they might be tempted to chew, or nearby exits they might make a quick dash for. Make sure your dog is microchipped to protect against the worst-case scenario.
Do Your Homework on No-Pet Zones
If you work in a large office, multi-business office building, or manufacturing setting, do your homework beforehand regarding where your dog isn’t allowed. Likely, they won’t be permitted in a cafeteria, on a production floor, near heavy machinery, or in employee restrooms.
Give Them Some Quiet Breaks
While this special day is a fun experience for dogs, their owners, and your co-workers, it’s also an overwhelming day for your dog. On an average workday, your dog probably hears white noise, the occasional car horn, and perhaps the mailman, so this could be quite stimulating for them. Make sure you get them outside for a few peaceful walks and find a quiet spot for them to relax and sleep.
This June 25, we hope your employer gives their blessing for National Take Your Dog to Work Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend more time with your dog, break up their typical routine of being left home for the day, and encourage adoptions by showcasing how wonderful your dog is. Just be sure to follow the steps above to ensure it’s a successful and safe day for all involved. If you’re not sure about your dog’s socialization or behavior and whether they are up for the task of bringing them to the office, feel free to give us a call.