If you’re like most dog parents, the best part of your day is arriving home after work, walking through the door and being greeted by a wagging tail and a joyful bark. With a few pats on your pup’s head, the stresses of the day melt away. Wouldn’t it be great to have your best friend – and best stress reliever – by your side at the office too? That’s what’s so great about Take Your Dog to Work Day.
Take Your Dog to Work Day was started in 1999 by Pet Sitters International as a way to celebrate the human-canine bond and to encourage adoptions by exposing more people to how great having a pet can be. If you work for a company that participates, it’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce your furry best friend to your office friends – and enjoy a little extra bonding time too.
This year, Take Your Dog to Work Day is Friday, June 21. The key to making the day a success is preparation. Make sure you have everything you’ll need to keep Rover maintained and entertained through an eight-hour day in an unfamiliar space.
The first thing to think about is the physical space itself. Your office may be perfect for you and a bunch of humans, but changes may be necessary for it to suit your dog. The day before you bring him in, carefully review the area to make sure there aren’t dangers he could get into. Watch for frayed electrical cords, furniture that can be easily knocked over, and any chemicals lying around. If unfamiliar dogs will be roaming the office, you may also need a way to cordon off your pup from the others. Pet gates should do the trick for most breeds. For others, a roomy crate may be best. There are portable crate options available if you don’t feel like lugging a metal crate to and from your office. Most larger retailers and pet stores will sell pop-up crates (like this one from Target) that unfurl and allow you to sequester your pet if needed. These are great for dogs that are too large to fit in a carrier but are not permitted to roam free.
Naturally, your dog will get hungry and thirsty during his office stay, so be sure to pack plenty of food and healthy dog treats. (My dog Lola loves the ones from Natural Balance and I don’t feel bad using them to keep her occupied during the day.) Bring in your dog’s regular food bowls as a nice reminder of home. Similarly, you may want to bring in his pet bed and some favorite toys. Eight hours is a long time for a dog to stay in a small area, so anything you can do to keep him entertained and happy will definitely be appreciated.
If you don’t own one already, a Kong might be a great toy to bring to the office. These durable plastic toys can be filled with your dog’s favorite food treats to keep him occupied for a short period of time. Also remember to take short breaks from your work every half-hour to give your dog a few minutes of attention. Toss a ball, play tug-of-war or just rub his belly.
Of course, it’s unlikely your dog will spend the entire time inside. At some point, he’ll probably need and appreciate a trek outdoors. Even the best-behaved dogs need to be on a leash when they’re not at home, so don’t get caught empty-handed when you take him in or out of the building. When potty time comes, be sure to use pet waste bags. Coworkers won’t appreciate a minefield of puppy surprises the next day.
A rewarding Take Your Dog to Work Day requires a little planning, but the most important thing to remember is to have fun. Enjoy introducing your best friend to the people you share the day with, and don’t be shy about letting him show off his coolest tricks. Savor this extra time with your four-legged friend and encourage others to do the same.