As companies begin considering unique job benefits to entice new talent and keep existing employees engaged, many are considering ways to make their offices more dog-friendly. This popular perk resonates with employees devoted to their canine companions and can foster deep employee appreciation.
However, weighing the advantages and downsides of dogs in the workplace is crucial. You must ensure your decision aligns with your company culture and doesn’t backfire and alienate other team members.
We’ll look at the top dog-friendly businesses in the United States, examine the pros and cons of office pets and share tips for creating a dog-friendly workplace that includes everything from on-site dog parks to pet insurance.
Best dog-friendly companies
We looked at companies that offer the latest and greatest dog-friendly perks that go beyond traditional pet perks like discounted pet insurance. These companies, rated in no particular order, are characterized by the following:
- Making it easy to bring dogs to work
- Showing commitment to dog health and happiness
- Understanding the benefits of having dogs around
Unsurprisingly, many of the companies on this list are in pet-related industries. However, tech offices have become hotspots for dogs as well.
Here are the top 20 dog-friendly companies in the U.S.:
- Amazon (Seattle)
- Uber (San Francisco)
- Zogics (Lenox, Massachusetts)
- Ben & Jerry’s (Burlington, VT)
- Google (Mountain View, California)
- Airbnb (San Francisco)
- Trupanion (Seattle)
- Zynga (San Francisco)
- Mars, Inc. (McLean, Virginia)
- Chewy.com (Boston)
- Petco (San Diego)
- VMWare (Palo Alto, California)
- PetSmart (Phoenix)
- Purina (St. Louis)
- The Farmer’s Dog (New York)
- Salesforce (San Francisco)
- GoDaddy (Tempe, Arizona)
- Stride Health (San Francisco)
- BARK (New York)
- Kong (Golden, Colorado)
These companies stand out for the unique offerings they provide to pups and their owners. For example:
- Amazon’s main campus in Seattle has a dog park for its 8,000 registered dogs and provides free poop bags and dog treats.
- Zogics has an entire page of its company website dedicated to four-legged friends. The company also allows pets in meetings and supports midday strolls.
- Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t limit treats to human employees. The company ensures office dogs receive something tasty at the reception desk.
- Salesforce works with local shelters to host pet adoption days.
- Mars, Inc. has gone so far as to offer dog boarding in some locations — the ideal perk for employees who travel frequently.
Other pet-related benefits to consider offering employees include pet-related time off added to the paid time off policy, stipends, gift cards and in-office amenities, such as leashes.
The pros and cons of having pets at work
There are numerous benefits to having dogs in your office but implementing a pet policy can also create some problems. Here’s a look at the upsides and downsides of pets at work.
Pros of having pets at work include:
- Pets at work can relieve stress: According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 report, workplace stress is at an all-time high, with 44 percent of employees saying they experienced significant stress within a day of being surveyed. Research published by the National Society of Medicine reveals that a dog-friendly office can help reduce stress, create a feeling of community and positively impact social cohesion. A stress-relieving perk like pet accommodations may be able to reduce stress and combat workplace maladies like employee burnout.
- Pets at work may boost productivity: According to an American Heart Association survey, 70 percent of pet owners say having their pets nearby boosts productivity. They may be able to focus more because they’re not worried about their furry companion or distracted by guilt.
- Pets at work can boost morale: For animal lovers, dogs in the office can help boost employee morale. It’s hard to be down or discouraged when surrounded by unconditional adoration.
- Allowing pets at work can attract and retain excellent employees: In a competitive labor market, employee perks matter. A dog-friendly policy can help businesses attract and retain top talent, differentiating themselves from other job offers.
Cons of pets at work include:
- Pets at work may alienate nonpet people: Not everyone is a pet person. Team members may not be comfortable with dogs in the office or have trepidations about specific sizes or breeds. Additionally, some may suffer from allergies exacerbated by dogs in the office and experience health issues.
- Pets at work can be messy: Regardless of how great or office-trained a dog is, messes can happen. Will you have a designated area for pets to take care of their business? What happens if a dog gets sick or has an accident? No business owner wants to create an unsanitary or uncomfortable environment for employees.
- Pets at work may disrupt productivity: While some may see dogs at work as a productivity boost, there’s a flip side. For example, not all dogs get along well with one another. You could end up dealing with more noise, aggression and related workplace distractions. Additionally, pet owners may take too much time attending to their furry friends and get distracted by their needs.
To avoid office perks hurting productivity instead of enhancing it, set key performance indicators to ensure employees reach their goals, set clear expectations and foster an environment that includes open communication.
How to make your company dog-friendly
If your goal is to make the list of the most dog-friendly companies, prepare thoughtfully and thoroughly to create a workplace that meets all your employees’ needs.
Here are some best practices for creating a dog-friendly company:
- Create a well-thought-out policy: Create a documented pet policy, share it with employees and include it in your employee handbook. If you make any changes to the policy, communicate them immediately to the entire company. Outline specific schedules, rules and guidelines.
- Offer tips on bringing dogs to the office: Not everyone will be used to having their dog at the office with them. Consider sharing helpful tips for creating a successful dog environment. Tips may be related to dog behavior and training, how to schedule dog-friendly walking meetings or where to find additional treats.
- Consider your office design: You’ll have to think about your physical workspace. Are there areas that must stay off-limits for pets? Will you have a designated outdoor space? Where will you place water bowls, toys and treats? Is the flooring you have now the best for pets? Carpet, for example, might be more challenging to maintain if accidents occur. Ultimately, you want to ensure you have good signage, necessary space and amenities and decor that can handle your four-legged friends.
- Consider additional pet-friendly perks: To bolster your pet-friendliness, consider pet perks like pet bereavement time, pet adoption days or pet-friendly company events. Discounted pet insurance is another popular pet-friendly perk to consider. If you have doggy day cares, veterinarians or pet stores nearby, see if they will offer discounts for your employees. If you work for a larger company, you can also reach out to popular retail chains.
Consider conducting an employee survey to gauge how your team feels about allowing dogs in the office. Create your policy based on their feedback.
The future of furry friends at work
As employees navigate return-to-work and hybrid policies, many want friendly, comfortable work environments similar to what they’ve created at home. If inviting four-legged friends to the workplace aligns with your company culture, this nontraditional benefit may be right for you. Plan ahead for potential problems, seek input from employees and take inspiration from some of the best dog-friendly companies around.