The Risks and Benefits of Allowing Dogs at the Workplace

June 21 is Take Your Dog to Work Day. More companies are beginning to participate in this event each year, as it’s a great way to make employees feel appreciated. Some companies are even beginning to allow employees to bring in their pets more frequently than that. But, is it the right move for your business to make? It’s certainly a decision that provides its own share of potential risks and benefits. Before you start sending out invites for Fido to come to work, you need to weigh the pros and cons carefully.


Risks of Allowing Dogs at Work


Perhaps the biggest risk of allowing dogs at work is the liability risk it represents. While the owner is ultimately responsible for the actions of the dog, that doesn’t leave you, as the employer, off the hook for the action of your employee’s dog.


As a business owner, you are ultimately responsible for the safety and wellbeing of your customers and your employees. If you allow dogs to come into the workplace and they bite someone on your property, then the liability exposure for your business will be great.


Make sure you work with your business insurance agency and your attorney to draft a pet policy for your business that protect your business from the liability risks of allowing pets in the workplace.


These are just a few of the things you might want to consider when adopting a pet policy:


  • Fleas
  • Immunizations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Supervision requirements
  • Off-limit zones
  • Potty breaks (and accident cleanup)
  • Allergies/Asthma etc. of coworkers
  • Noise control
  • Size/Breed restrictions


Little things like this can make a huge difference in the overall success of your efforts to create a dog-friendly environment in the workplace.


Aside from the liability risks, there are other considerations. Dog owners feel that the damage their dogs do is part of the territory that goes along with being a dog owner. However, pets can cause damage to the workplace. You need to decide how those issues are going to be dealt before allowing dogs in the office.


Benefits of Bringing Dogs to Work


It’s true that the concept of bringing dogs to work is still relatively new. In fact, it’s so novel that many business owners forget that there are practical benefits to consider when allowing employees the opportunity to do something like this. One of the biggest benefits is that it really does encourage coworkers to get to know a little more about one another and interact together. There’s a certain kinship among dog owners that really helps with team building efforts. It certainly serves to break down the barriers cubicle walls often present.


Allowing employees to bring dogs to work makes them feel appreciated and can help them be even more productive in their daily tasks. Just remember to take the right preventative steps to limit your liability and promote responsibility