Etiquette for Bringing Your Dog to Work

Remember when “Casual Friday” meant wearing slacks and a shirt with no tie? The formality of the workplace has given way to a more relaxed, friendly atmosphere — and that change has extended to many companies welcoming dogs, cats and other pets to the office.

Now, many offices even celebrate “Take Your Dog to Work Day”, a summer Friday where coworkers bring their dogs in to introduce them to their work friends and new dog friends.

Perhaps your work culture would get a little shot in the arm with a dog running around or a few puppies nibbling at people’s feet. But before you celebrate by bringing in Rover, make sure you follow the proper etiquette for bringing your dog to work. Otherwise, you may find yourself called onto the soiled carpet by your boss. Here are some tips on the proper etiquette for bringing a dog to work.

  1. Make sure your officemates (not to mention your boss!) are okay with the idea of bringing your dog into the office.

Many companies have no policy on the books at all about bringing a dog to work, but that is not an open license to bring your pup. Check with HR and/or senior leadership before you do anything. Get an idea of if your coworkers are comfortable with dogs.

  1. Establish a written policy regarding pets.

The policy should include:

  1. Designate an employee to keep a daily attendance sheet to keep record of whose pets have been at the office.
  2. Require owners to keep control of their dogs at all times. You may want to consider requiring dogs to be on a lead.
  3. Determine what bad behaviors will cause a dog to be evicted from the office, and agree upon the number of “strikes” a pet will be allowed before eviction.
  4. Make sure all visiting pets are current on vaccinations.
  5. Designate an outdoor area for walking dogs.
  6. Bring along baggies and equipment to clean up after pets.
  7. Designate non-pet areas to accommodate people who don’t like dogs or have allergies.
  8. Only allow dogs that are well socialized to people or other dogs. Remember, not all animals get along.

The most important thing is to remember that the workplace is not a playground for your puppy. If he or she begins to distract others from their work, it may not be a fit for your dog or your coworkers.