Dogs in the Office: Promoting the Alternative Smoke Break

In an era where life at the office has become less business and more casual, bringing your dog to work has finally become acceptable.  While this is a wonderful revelation in the American workplace, dog owners must still be mindful of pet etiquette, or risk the wrath of their associates. Let’s face it, your average office can be a fairly chaotic place, full of employees concerned with deadlines and planning for meetings. The last thing anyone would want around would be a badly smelling, poorly socialized pet distracting and terrorizing the office place by jumping, barking, scratching, and biting.  To ensure that you won’t be the office outcast, let’s discuss the do’s, don’ts and best practices of bringing your dog to work. First things first, get your paperwork in order!  This can mean checking with anyone from the landlord, to your human resources department, to your company’s insurance provider to ensure that you have the proper permission.  At Amazon for example, dog owners must register their pet, verify that they are up to date on their vaccines, ensure that they are housebroken and friendly, and keep their pooches on a leash unless they are in an office with a shut door ( Secondly, you need to think about proper etiquette.  Consider the feelings of your coworkers and their issues with the topic.  They may have allergies, phobias or strong predilections regarding our furry little four legged canine friends.  Be sure to think ahead and give your dog regular baths, check for fleas, and keep them by your side to ensure that the only one they are able to annoy is you! If someone wants to play with or take your dog for a walk, they’ll ask. Don’t just assume that everyone will love your pup and be ok with it running rampant. Now that we’ve covered the bases of pet etiquette, let’s get on to the bountiful benefits associated with the topic.  Dogs lighten up the workplace, improve office culture and make the place more fun.  Coworkers will often enjoy the extra puppy love received from office pets. Customers as well are likely to respond well to your business having a pet in the office. Potential employees will see a pet in the office as a reflection of a friendly and open work environment.  Everyone enjoys the warm welcome a pet can bring, as well as the healthy distraction achieved through playing games or taking the little fella for a walk. The health benefits are nothing to downplay either.  Employees enjoying the pets, cuddles, and extra affection connected with office dogs have been known to have decreased stress levels at work.  In terms of physical health, lunch can be spent on outdoor walks with your four-legged friend rather than sitting indoors in front of your computer, stuffing down bites of a greasy hamburger.  Breaks can be spent enjoying the fresh air at the park across the street instead of visiting with cigarette smoking coworkers in the office parking lot.  Janet Myer, an advocator of benefits through pet therapy, stated “it’s been proven that people are always more productive when they are happy” (, if this is so, wouldn’t it seem obvious to bring the catalyst to our joy at home to one of the places at which we feel ourselves becoming the most stressed? As long as pet owners keep their coworkers in mind when sharing their office space with man’s best friend, calmness and creativity in the workplace may flourish and companies could prosper.  Just remember, always be considerate of those you share your space with, “It comes down to common sense and common courtesy,” claims Drew Herdener, Senior Public Relations Manager at Amazon.  Agree to respect your coworkers and everyone should remain at ease as the workplace continues to transform into a less traditional structure.