June 24th is National Take Your Dog to Work Day, an annual event that encourages businesses to allow their employees to bring their dogs to work with them. It began in 1999 to help promote responsible pet ownership, encourage pet adoptions and recognise the positive impact dogs can have on people and businesses. As well as being an opportunity for dogs and their owners to have a little fun at their place of work, it’s also a way to show support for pet adoption and help raise awareness about how much dogs can benefit businesses.
Benefits of animals in the workplace
Dogs can make the office a friendlier, healthier, and happier place to work. There are a number of reasons that bringing your dog to work is beneficial and having pets in the workplace can have incredibly positive effects for employees, such as:
- Helping to reduce stress and anxiety at work
- Increasing happiness and improving mental health and wellbeing in the workplace
- Helping to foster relationships and increase collaboration between co-workers
- Helping employees to be more productive and creative
- Reducing absenteeism
- Improving team spirit and morale
Important things to consider before bringing your dog to work
If your company decides to participate in Take Your Dog To Work Day, it’s important to consider a few things before bringing your dog into the workplace:
- Your dog’s personality and temperament – not all dogs may be well suited to spending the day in an office or foreign environment. Your dog should be sociable with both people and other dogs – if they don’t enjoy being around other dogs or if they get stressed out and anxious in new environments then it may not be suitable to bring them in.
- Training – your dog should be obedient, well behaved and able to stay calm and settled for the duration of the day, without disturbing your workmates or disrupting your work.
- Your dog’s health – only take your dog to work if they are healthy and well and do not have any injuries or infections that could be passed onto other dogs.
How to make your office more pet-friendly
To make the day as enjoyable as possible for employees and their pets, it’s important to ensure your office is a safe and pet-friendly environment for all. Here are a few things you can do to make your office more pet-friendly:
- Conduct a safety check – before the big day, it’s a good idea to carry out a safety assessment of the office space to make sure there are no potential hazards such as loose wires or anything out of place that could be harmful to dogs.
- Set up a water bowl – Make sure it’s clean and fresh at all times and replaced it if it becomes dirty.
- Provide plenty of toys – Choose toys that aren’t too small and can’t be chewed up or broken apart. Avoid toys that are small enough to be swallowed or have any pieces that are small enough to come off and be swallowed by your dog.
- Provide a dog bed – Make sure it’s big enough for your dog to stretch out on so they can comfortably settle next to your desk, allowing you to carry on with your work with minimal disruption.
- Have a designated area outside where dogs can go to the bathroom – take your dog for regular bathroom and exercise breaks and make sure you have plenty of bags on hand to clean up after them.
- Avoid feeding your dog at your desk – For the sake of keeping your work space clean, it’s best to feed your dog outside or in a designated room where food is allowed. However, having a few doggie treats on hand to reward good behaviour is recommended!
For more tips and safety information about taking your dog to work, read the RSPCA’s article here.
Supporting animal charities
There are plenty of businesses in Australia that recognise Take Your Dog To Work Day and allow their employees to come into work with their pooch in tow. However, if your company doesn’t plan on celebrating or you don’t currently work somewhere that allows pets, you can still support the cause by donating to the RSPCA or other animal charities or shelters in your community.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to participate in TYDTWD, and it is deemed a success, why not ask your boss if you can make it a regular occurrence? As well as reaping the benefits of having your furry pal by your side, you can also support a worthy cause to allow your chosen charity to continue their work in helping animals in their care to find their furr-ever homes.