Pet Etiquette at the Office

Tips for a Successful Workday with Pets

Dog at the office

Lucky you! Your company has announced that pets are allowed to tag along with you at work on designated days of the month. Your furry companion will undoubtedly be overjoyed about not being left home alone, but what can you do to manage his level of excitement at the office? After all, it’s not like you can spend the day chucking his favorite toy down the corridor to keep him occupied.

Check out these pet etiquette tips to make sure both your pet (and your neighboring colleagues) have a good experience.

Rule 1: Friendly Pets Only

If your dog doesn’t play well with others, it’s best to leave him home. Cats may not mingle as much in general, but hissers and biters may not be welcomed back to the office.

Bring pets that don’t have aggressive tendencies and aren’t territorial. If your dog or cat bites or harms another pet or person, you’ll be responsible for any healthcare bills — or worse — a lawsuit for damages. As pet owners, it’s always wise to make sure you have liability coverage under your homeowners (or renters) insurance that includes your pets.

Are Your Pet’s Vaccines Up to Date?

If there’s a chance your pet could be socializing with other pets at the office, make sure his vaccines are current. There’s always a chance of spreading kennel cough or other contaminates from one pet to the other. Current vaccines reduce the chance of this occurring.

Create a Safe Zone

Dog in crate at the office

To make sure your pet feels comfortable in a new environment such as a busy (and sometimes loud) office setting, bring some familiar items from home that can help ease anxiety.

You can easily create a designated pet zone in your office or cubicle. First, bring a portable pet bed, a crate or your pet’s favorite blanket. Put this in an area that offers refuge for your pet, such as a corner spot under your desk or against a wall close to you so your pet can feel protected.

Don’t forget to bring a few favorite toys and some treats for your pet. If you’re in a cubicle setting, avoid bringing toys with loud squeakers as the constant “SQUEAAAAAK” may end up annoying colleagues.

Have a water bowl accessible to your pet. Put a small towel under the water bowl to avoid soaking the office carpet.

Regular Potty Breaks, Please!

It’s easy to get distracted at work, but while you’re furiously typing away, your pet could be crossing his legs with an urgent need to pee.

Take your dog outside for regular potty breaks to avoid accidents on the carpet. Bring disposable bags to pick up after your pet outdoors. Cat owners should bring a disposable litter tray with your cat’s preferred litter. These inexpensive trays can be kept under your desk in case your cat needs a potty break.

Assign a Pet Buddy

If you have to run to a meeting or take a potty break yourself, don’t leave pets alone in an office or cubicle; this could create anxiety and therefore anxious behavior such as barking, whining or chewing.

Ask a willing colleague to take over pet sitting duties while you’re gone to make sure your pet doesn’t chew on an electrical cord or desk surf for your leftover lunch.

Be Mindful of Your Colleagues

Cat on a leash at the office

Just because you love your pet doesn’t mean everyone else does. Believe it or not, there are people out there who don’t like pets and they might be sitting next to you.

Be mindful of other people’s limitations — including possible allergies — and keep pets close to you. Bring a leash for both dogs and cats to avoid any straying. While your back is turned, your constant companion could quietly decide to take a solitary stroll to check out the place.

If you’re interested in being extra considerate, groom your pet the day before: give him a bath and a thorough brushing to help eliminate dander that will cause your colleagues’ allergies to flare up.

If your dog starts whining or barking, take him outside for a break. Bring his favorite outdoor toy for a 10-minute recess that’ll have him napping once you’re back indoors.


Did you know that more than 4,000 companies offer pet health insurance benefits? Click here to see if your company is on the list.