Should Dogs Be Allowed In The Office?

Should Dogs Be Allowed In The Office?

Credit for this article goes to Katlyn Eriksen

More than 25% of employers say that they are happy to have a dog-friendly work policy, and 1 in 4 firms regularly allow pets in the office. The fact is that we are a nation of animal lovers and dogs bring great joy and companionship to our lives. There are some big advantages to having a dog in your office, but there can also be a downside too (least of all getting less work done because you’re too busy making a fuss of the lovely doggy). But should they really be allowed at your workplace?

Dogs help reduce stress

In Britain 59% of the population deal with workplace stress, however, the good news is that dogs can help to reduce this. In 2018 a study of more students at the British University of Columbia found that the impact of therapy dogs on stress was quite profound. All of the participants reported immediate strong benefits included feelings of happiness, an increase in energy levels and a reduction of stress. This has a scientific explanation – stroking a dog releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain, giving us feelings of reward and pleasure. This, in turn, reduces stress and helps us to relax. Staring into the eyes of a dog also releases oxytocin. This is the very same hormone that helps to bond a mother with her baby.

Dogs need mental stimulation

If you are working in an office, it might not be a good idea to have your dog with you all day if you are constantly busy, or have very little break time. Having your dog sitting under your desk for 8 hours isn’t really mentally stimulating enough for them and they could become frustrated, noisy and destructive. If however your work is varied and your dog is allowed to wander around the office freely, then they might be sufficiently entertained and enjoy the new sights and smells. They may even make some new friends. If you take your dog to the office, you could also pack a bag for them containing a couple of dog toys and maybe a feeding puzzle box, or a Kong to keep them amused.

Dogs need exercise

If you are taking your dog to the office, you need to bear in mind that they will need to go out for walkies regularly and may need to go to the toilet. This may not always be convenient to your work schedule, however, no one wants to end up clearing up dog poo from next to the photocopier. Many dog-friendly offices organise walks every lunchtime, for instance, the Anthony Nolan Trust Headquarters in London has allowed staff to bring in their pets for the last couple of years. Ten members of staff bring their canine companions to work and they have group walks every lunch on Hampstead Heath.

As long as other staff members don’t mind, then having a dog in the office can have a calming effect. It will also get you out for some fresh air at lunchtime, which is better for everyone.

Puppy Toys

Puppy Toys

Toys don’t have to cost a great deal – in fact there are probably items already lying around your home that are suitable for a puppy to play with. A soft plastic lid will do, or perhaps a visit to a local charity shop will yield unwanted soft toys. Just be sure they are clean and safe; supervise him for the first few times to avoid accidents.

Squeaky toys can become annoying in time, but most puppies love them. You’ll find a huge variety on offer; some are hard, others are made of soft chewable materials. Terriers in particular seem to love chasing squeaky balls from one room to another.

 

Raggers – made from strips of different fabric woven together – offer the chance of a good tug-of-war contest. Some are even flavoured for additional interest.

Balls are a perennial favourite and a great way of exercising while having fun. Border Collies and other ‘herding’ dogs enjoy pushing a ball around a field. Go for something soft that doesn’t puncture and is big enough so it can’t be accidentally swallowed.

Chews come in all shapes and sizes. They are either made from plastic, rawhide or hard biscuit. Keep them handy particularly when your puppy is teething. They’ll provide a useful distraction and stop him chewing things you’d rather he left alone, like your slippers.