The Ultimate Dog Friendly Business Resource

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Written by Cory Eckert

We love our dogs, and we love those who make pet ownership a better experience. That in mind, we've put together a resource to feature some great businesses who are doing just that.

Increase in Dog-Friendly Businesses and Workplaces

Dog friendly companies are becoming more and more common. From businesses that allow employees to bring their dogs to retailers who encourage shopping with your dog, the future of everyday trips with your canine are solid.

In fact, most businesses have found increased profits by allowing customers to bring their pooches. Employers have found that work quality increases when dogs are in the office. I know I prefer shopping at dog-positive stores.

Dogs at the Office- The Pros

Some businesses have found that adding dogs to the workplace can have some great benefits. Here are just a few we've heard about...

Less Worker Absenteeism

Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a study of 450 employees broken down into three groups: employees with and without their dogs at work; employees who did not own dogs. Overall, the study indicated reduced stress for the employees who brought their dogs to work and had less absences.

Also, dogs had an overall positive impact on the office environment. Some employees’ dogs were invited on breaks by co-workers during the day as a stress reliever. The study further suggested that allowing dogs at work could be an inexpensive wellness boost to alleviate pressure in the workplace and encourage cooperation within the staff.

Increase in Employee Morale

Dogs at work have been shown to create more collaboration between co-workers. Something about dogs probably makes people want to emulate canine agreeability. Employee turnover has shown to be less when general office morale is higher. I know I enjoy work more if I feel I can work well with my peers to accomplish our goals.

Allowing Dogs May Attract Millennial-Aged Workers

Banfield Animal Hospital conducted a survey asking whether being allowed pets at the office impacted work issues like loyalty, morale, productivity and work stamina. They found that 7 out of 10, a whopping 70% of all surveyed saw positive increases in all areas when pets were allowed. Millennials like feeling secure and valued. Being able to bring their pets into work with them increased feelings of security and encouraged them to stay on at their jobs.

Helps to Further Socialize the Dog

Anytime a dog can be around other people and dogs in a safe environment, the pup benefits also. Dogs are social and crave human interaction. What better place to engage socially than at the office? For me, knowing that my colleagues welcome my dogs makes me instantly more collaborative. Even the most disagreeable co-worker will get points from me by just being nice to my dog. In my book, anyone who likes dogs can’t be all bad.

The Cons to Dogs at the Office

Other businesses are still hesitant because there are a few negative aspects to dogs in the workplace. Here's some we've heard about...

Some Workers Become Too Distracted

Yes, some workers might be overly involved with dogs in the work environment when it first begins. Over time, as dogs become more commonplace, the need to earn a paycheck will soon override the distraction of even the cutest pup.

Some Co-Workers Have Allergies or Fear

Not everyone is a dog-lover. Shock, I know! However, phobias are a real issue along with the allergies. These concerns need to be taken seriously because companies cannot afford to alienate proven talent.

Dogs Can Cause Damage

I personally accept, as part of being a dog parent, that my house is not going to be pristine, but the office is another issue. Dogs can chew things like desk legs or chair cushions. Cleaning up after the occasional hound accident is another concern. Responsibility for both situations lies, in my opinion, firmly with the dog’s owner, but it is wise to have an office policy so that such occurrences are easily addressed.

Liability

Well-socialized and leashed dogs are not usually prone to biting, but, as animals, it is possible for even the most well-trained canine to bite if provoked. Again, policies need to be in place ahead of allowing pets at work.

Establishing a Doggie-at-Work Policy

It's important to have a policy in place before allowing dogs into your workplace. This will protect your employees as well as the pets involved.

Create a Dog-At-Work Committee

Prior to allowing any dogs at work, a committee should be assembled to review the options and help establish procedures for dealing with concerns. They could address issues such as cleaning, limits on size or days, etc. The committee could also be the go-to for addressing infractions of the pet policies.

Before allowing any dogs or other pets in the office the committee could poll all employees affected to see if there are objections. Any such objections should be taken seriously. The committee could also review liability policies to see if anything prohibits animals in the workplace. If a pet-positive policy is implemented, the committee can then recommend other procedures so that the new policy is safely put into practice.

Setting Limits

Dogs can be a great addition to anyone’s life, but the work environment does have to be productivity-focused. As such, if everyone at a 500-person office decides to bring their dog on the same day, chaos would probably ensue. Even the most dog-friendly business should set limits such as alternating dog attendance, doggie-free areas and pet-proofing offices.

Additionally, the company might want to consider allowing dogs only on certain days, insisting on some proof of training, and supervision expectations. Lastly, dogs will need breaks, however, the dog should not be used to abuse the break policy.

Cleaning Up

Most dog owners are responsible parents who value their canine companions and will quickly clean up after them in case of an accident or damage. In the office, it would be wise to have a clear policy about who will provide cleaning supplies and handle cleaning up.

I wanted my dog to come to work with me so I made sure to have cleaning supplies and claimed responsibility for any damage caused by my dogs.

The Most Dog Friendly Companies for Employees

Amazon

At the e-retailer's headquarters, there is a 17th-floor doggie deck complete with a fake fire hydrant and an annual Barktoberfest. The e-giant also provides complimentary dog doo bags. That earns this employer a ten-woof rating. Amazon wants the best human talent and it knows that accommodating fur-babies can mean better productivity. Long work hours are made easier when you know your fur-bestie is nearby.

Procore Technologies

This construction software developer out of Carpinteria, California celebrates office dogs with happy hours called “pawties”. A Slack channel also relaxes employees during the day by showing dog photos.

Trupanion

As a pet insurance provider, it should be no surprise that Trupanion is a very dog friendly company. Perks include paid pet insurance; days off for the loss of pet grieving and a company-provided dog walker

PetSmart

Headquartered in Phoenix, PetSmart chips in towards the cost of pet insurance and has a designated play area for pets and employees.

Airbnb

To encourage dog attendance at their San Francisco office, Airbnb, the crowd-sourced e-hotel, assigns each dog a badge scanner and they become part of the internal database. Now that’s a furry co-worker.

Nestle Purina Petcare

At the St. Louis office they hold the world record for the most pets in an office at one time. The idea here was to encourage other companies to adopt pet-friendly policies so that more employees could benefit from pets in the working environment.

Petco Animal Supplies

Of course, Petco, the national pet supply chain, allows all well-trained employee dogs (and other pets) at their headquarters. It also provides employees with discounts on its pet products.

Zogics

This fitness equipment provider gifts employee pet owners with a $200 pet store gift card, an extra week of Pet Time Off (PTO) and a lifetime supply of their pet shampoo. This is all part of their “pawternity” policy. Yes! Two paws up!

Uber

To encourage dog attendance at their headquarters in San Francisco this ride-share giant has dog beds scattered around so that canine co-workers can relax if they are having a ruff day at the office. Also, new pet owners can have unlimited Pet Time Off to train their new family members before bringing them to work.

Dogs Shopping with Their Humans-The Upside

Many businesses are taking a cue from the hotel hospitality industry and beginning to become more dog-friendly. With revenues topping $66 billion spent on pets, it is no wonder hotels wanted a piece of that lucrative pie. Travelers will often have repeat stays if they know that Itzy and Bitzy can be included.

Hotels have gone even further than just allowing pets with many frequently offering perks like dishes, leashes and dog-centered menu items. The increase in their economic bottom-line has been a huge selling point to other industries in allowing well-trained and supervised pets as guests.

As with any decision around allowing dogs and other pets into public places, the merchants do need to consider things such as liability, cleanliness and limitations. Again, any company where employees and customers might interact with the visiting dog need to be mindful of business and try to reduce the occurrence of any problems.

At the end of the day, most businesses which have set up pet-friendly policies have found more positive outcomes that greatly outweigh the rare negative. Such merchants find increased sales because customers stay longer, come back more frequently and tell their friends about the pro-dog environment.

Businesses that Welcome Dog and Human Shoppers

If you are anything like me, running errands is infinitely more bearable with our dog-dren with us. The focus here will be on national stores that allow pets, but make sure to check locally-owned stores because many have dog-friendly policies.

Just to be on the safe side, always double-check if your local branch of the following allows dogs before heading over with Bowser or Fifi in tow. Be aware, too, how your dog handles crowds because certain seasons, such as Christmas, might be very busy.

Always keep in mind that even the most dog-positive retailer has guidelines regarding leashes and manners. As a responsible human-owned-by-a-dog, make sure your dog is prepared to be on a leash and ready to mind their p’s and q’s. The goal is to encourage more dog-positive businesses.

Let’s start with the stores that welcome canine shoppers followed by some restaurants that even provide perks (aka treats) for visiting pups.

The Apple Store

Apple is known for cutting edge technology and from the start was a dog-friendly business. They only ask that customers be attentive to sales and holidays where the crowds can be overwhelming.

PetSmart and Petco

Well, of course, PetSmart and Petco would allow dogs that are socially appropriate. Many PetSmart locations even have doggie daycare. Managers of each location do have the right of refusal for some breeds into daycare. Usually, a free treat or two will happen at some point during the visit.

Lowes and Home Depot

Fido likes looking at hammers as much as you do, so Lowes and Home Depot generally let in well-mannered dogs on a short leash, just call ahead. The industrial nature of the stores with their wide aisles and concrete floors, make bringing pups more stress-free. Some of the cashiers even have secret stashes of dog biscuits. Yum!

Academy Sports and Outdoors

While not having an official paw-licy allowing dogs, it is obvious from the many social media posts that dogs are welcome to shop alongside their owners at this sporting retailer. As always, it's best to double-check before bringing along your dog because some stores might have limited permission.

Abercrombie and Fitch

Most A&F are located in malls and with the majority of malls nationwide being dog-gone friendly, Abercrombie rolls with that attitude. You know only your furry mate can help you pick the perfect 90s-inspired t-shirt.

Tiffany and Company

Yes, Tiffany of Breakfast fame is very dog-friendly to the point where they actively encourage dog and human co-shopping. Apparently, they realize that having your fur buddy along only encourages more diamond buying. Let the cha-ching begin.

Urban Outfitters

The industrial décor is ideal for shoppers who want to include their wing-dog while making a haul. The wide aisles and concrete floors are very pet-friendly and encourage retail therapy that includes fur-babies.

Starbucks

I have yet to go to a Starbucks with my dogs and not be offered a world-famous Puppuchino. I’ve never had to ask, but don’t be shy. The happy barista on duty will be glad to whip one up (sorry, not sorry). The outside tables are great places to sit with your fur-bestie and chat with human friends over your favorite latte.

Dunkin’ Donuts

When in the drive-through at Dunkin’s the server will be happy to make a puppy latte (whipped cream in a cup) for your fluffer. They also offer treats on request if you want to linger over your brew at an outside table.

Shake Shack

Starting off as strictly a hot dog vendor, Shake Shack keeps your precious fur-ness in mind on their For Dogs menu. Any stand-alone location will make up a Pooch-ini which is vanilla custard topped with dog biscuits.

Sonic

Sonic is a drive-through but some do have small patio areas that allow dogs, just check to make sure before letting Rover out of the car. Sonic will provide dog appropriate treats if you request them. My dogs love to split a plain hot dog and chase it with some slushy ice water while I am enjoying my Cherry Limeaid and a corn dog.

Dairy Queen

Another great place to drive-through for human and puppy treats. While you are enjoying your chocolate dip cone ask for a pup cone to give to your tag-along four-pawed passenger(s).

In-N-Out Burger

While this is primarily a West Coast chain, it is expanding. When you are through running errands with your canine cuddle and want to pick up some Animal Fries to go, swing into In-N-Out and ask for an unseasoned burger for your buddy. They will be super thrilled, and you will feel like the best pup-parent in the world.

The Do’s of Taking Your Dog Everywhere

Some things you should always have on your list of todo's before taking your pup to a public place.

Provide Socialization Well Ahead

Taking the time to properly socialize your dog by participating in dog training will provide big rewards in terms of Sparky being a welcome addition to any environment. Good training involves interacting with lots of humans, other pets and leash work. The shopping experience may be therapeutic for you, but the first time for Fluffy-not so much.

Stores can be full of people, odd smells, quick movements and much more. This can be stressful for your dog. As with any new adventure, prepare your pup properly before heading off for a day of retail therapy. The same suggestions apply for road trips or day trips.

Always Call Ahead

Even if you have gone on-line to check the pet policy of your favorite national chain, call the location you are going to visit to ensure that there haven’t been any last-minute changes to local policies. Some retailers allow franchisees to make their own rules around pets.

Introduce the Dog to a Similar, Open Environment First

Before going into Home Depot with your furry friend, take them and walk around the parking lot so they can experience some of the noise, smells and people. If they seem relaxed, then venture inside but be prepared to leave on short notice if your dog becomes stressed.

Feed and Water Before Shopping

A well-fed and hydrated dog, just like their humans, is usually calmer. Be sure to keep extra water and treats as a reward for good behavior. Remember, you’re shopping but your dog is always in training.

The Don’ts of Shopping with Pup

Believe it or not, every does not like dogs. I know, what's with that! Still, it's true and it's important to follow a few common rules when venturing out with your pup.

Don’t Insist that Others Interact

Not everyone thinks that dogs are the most adorable beings on the planet. If you should encounter someone like this, be respectful and remove yourself and Barkley. Stressed-out, fearful people can cause your pup to go into protect mode, which no one wants.

Don’t Go Where Rover Isn’t Welcome

This may be obvious, but I believe it is worth a reminder that businesses have the right to have limitations around dogs in their store. Please respect the rules about where you can and cannot go with your dog. If Ross only wants your dog to come if they ride in a cart, respect their policy. Again, call ahead.

Don’t Take Unpredictable Dogs to Public Spaces

If you know that your dog is skittish, doesn’t react well to other dogs or children, please, then, leave your dog at home. They will be happier snoozing the day away and you won’t be responsible for any problems they might have caused.

Dogs Can Be a Positive Addition to Any Environment

As a dog lover, I love to spend the day with my dogs in any environment where they are welcome. However, I have done my homework with them and make sure they continue to be socialized.

Before heading out I make sure we all have extra water, snacks and toys. I feel my dogs reflect me and I want our reputation to be a good one.

About the author

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Cory Eckert

Cory is the co-creator of GoldenRetrieverLove.com and a life long dog enthusiast. From training livestock dogs as a child to working with obedience classes as an adult, it's hard to imagine Cory without a dog. Currently enjoying being a dog parent to Remi (a chocolate lab) and Annie (a golden retriever).

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