Casey's Corner: Taking your dog to work

·3 min read
Joan Merriam
Joan Merriam

What do tech firms like Google and Amazon, and a Washington D.C. doctor’s office have in common? They all allow employees to bring their dogs to work.

And they’re not alone: Nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. take their dogs to work with them every day.

Many employees returning to the office post-pandemic are exerting pressure on their employers to allow them to do the same. They insist that having their dog nearby helps them deal with everyday stress and anxiety, as well as create a more welcoming environment.

Research bears that out.

According to a landmark 2012 study published by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, workers who bring their dogs to work had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day, regardless of how many stressful events occurred. Researchers also found that dogs tend to boost overall workplace morale and lead to more open communication.

So what can you do to promote an open-door policy about dogs in your own organization?

First, recognize that many firms have legitimate concerns about dogs in the workplace. Chief among those is probably liability. Although the law holds pet owners legally responsible for any injury caused by their pets, in today’s lawsuit-happy environment, businesses and organizations are understandably leery about doing anything that could potentially result in legal action. Employers should talk with their insurers to ensure their general liability policy covers any actions caused by an animal in the workplace.

Then there’s the issue of allergies. The fact is that in most cases, people are allergic to dog dander or saliva rather than dog hair. However, dogs should never be allowed in the immediate area of anyone who suffers from animal allergies.

Remember, too, that some people are afraid of dogs. It’s the owner’s responsibility to make sure their pup isn’t allowed to approach people without first making sure they are comfortable with a dog.

As an employee, look at other dog-friendly companies to find out what kind of rules and regulations they have in place, what kinds of problems have arisen and how the firm has dealt with them.

Some of the more common-sense guidelines include that dogs must be clean, free of illness, and house-trained; that they be well-socialized and non-aggressive; and that owners must provide proof of current vaccinations for rabies and other diseases.

Websites like Pet Sitters International and Workable have some excellent guidelines for animals in the workplace that you can easily adapt to your situation.

Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts to establish a pet-friendly environment are unsuccessful. Whether you’re trying to convince your boss or your board of directors, keep gathering facts to support the proposal, and enlist others in the organization to endorse the idea.

If all else fails, and you simply can’t go another day without your beloved companion by your side, investigate the option of working from home. Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve learned that workers can be just as productive at home as they are at the office. Plus, there’s no one around to complain about dog hair!

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her Golden Retriever, Joey; Maine Coon cat, Indy; and the abiding spirit of her beloved Golden Retriever, Casey, in whose memory this column is named. You can reach her at

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Casey's Corner: Taking your dog to work

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