Every dog person has been there — that moment just before you leave for work, when you glance down and see a pair of sad, pleading eyes. Instant guilt ensues, but someone has to earn the price of kibble for the household, right?
Dogs make fantastic companions. They’re smart, fun-loving and comforting animals that tend to shed joy along with dog hair wherever they go. So why can’t more of us bring our dogs to work?
I hate to be a spoilsport, but there are actually some very good reasons that dogs are often not allowed to come to work with us.
Allergy symptoms in sufferers can range from mildly annoying to life-threatening, making allergies the No. 1 reason why many places ban pets. More than that, a person who suffers from other allergies may be more likely to be allergic to pets like cats and dogs.
“It has been estimated that as much as 10% of the population is at risk for developing pet allergies and that between 15% and 30% of all allergy-prone individuals may be allergic to cats and dogs,” explains Dr. Nelson Lee Novick, M.D., in You Can Do Something About Your Allergies: A Leading Doctor’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Allergies.
While millions of people love dogs, we have to be mindful of those whose bodies simply will not allow them to be around our canine friends. After all, it’s an inconvenience for us but maybe life-threatening for them.
Let’s face it — when we’re at work, we’re paid to work. Because dogs are so well-loved, Fluffles is guaranteed to create a stir. The boss may not appreciate having to ride herd on their staff because everyone is gathered around the dog. Dogs also require regular bathroom breaks and feedings, which may mean taking time out of the work day to complete these tasks.
In addition, what happens if you bring your Chew-barka and your coworker brings their Clementine, and it’s a hate-on-sight situation? Now you have dogs fighting in the workplace, with the end result of damages and injuries.
If your dog bites, scratches or causes a severe allergic reaction, who is liable for the injuries? Your company, most likely, because the incident will theoretically have happened on its premises. But there may be a hefty dose of liability left over for you.
According to the Washington Post, the insurance company State Farm paid out $121 million dollars in dog-related injuries in 2016. While this, of course, falls to the insurance company to pay, it may mean trouble for your employer, who neglected to inform the insurance company that dogs would be on the premises.
In a workplace, the door is often opening and closing on a regular basis. Dogs are curious creatures, and many will often take advantage of an open-door opportunity to slip out and explore the new places and scents around the area.
An exploring dog is not always willing to return when called and, in fact, may even disappear before anyone notices that they’re gone. Dogs who get loose are in danger of getting hit by cars, picked up by strangers and getting in fights with other dogs or wildlife.
This video is a great counterargument of why people should be allowed to bring their pets to work:
If you work with customers or clients, you already know how wildly their responses can vary. Some will absolutely adore seeing your dog. I would, in fact, probably roll around on the floor with your dog rather than conducting any actual business. But some customers just don’t see it the same way — and they won’t hesitate to let you know.
In food service industries, only service dogs are allowed on the premises. This means that your pet is verboten, no matter how cute they are. Note that emotional support animals and therapy dogs do not fall under the umbrella of “service animal.” Only designated, trained service dogs are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law.
Many companies forbid pets on the premises by choice or by law, but here are some that welcome your furry friend along with you:
- Mars Petcare
- Build-a-Bear Workshop
- Activision Blizzard
So don’t be afraid to ask about a company’s pet policy before signing on to a new job.
Off-line, I am a pet sitter, and I have 2 clients who bring their dogs to work with them. One works at a local school and the other in an office. It really is down to the organization you’re looking to work for. Just remember that if it’s a food service organization, then you’re probably out of luck.