Paws for thought......

A ruff day at the office!


It's tough being separated from your dog/s for the whole working day.

Quite apart from the guilt of leaving a dog all lonely at home (not to mention the recommendation not to leave them for more than four hours at a time), or the expense of someone looking after it/them, it also means you tend to rush off when the clock strikes 5pm to let Fido out for a widdle.

Most of us have to go to work – but imagine if you could take your dog with you. How amazing would that be? Studies have shown that dog-friendly offices have employees who are less stressed. 

It may sound a bit barking, but there’s no need to leave your dog behind when you set off for the office on 21st June as this is something that 'Take Your Dog to Work Day' is keen to promote. 

Its aim is to encourage dog owners to spend more time with their pets by taking them to work every day and to experience the benefits of the practice - to themselves and those around them.  

The presence of dogs is a great stress-buster, yet, in spite of all the obvious benefits of having animals in the workplace, Britain lags behind the US in making it a common practice. 

In the UK a total of 45% of the population own a pet, with the most popular being a dog and 26% reflecting this. 

Dogs are amazing creatures. They’re able to lead blind people through bustling streets, bring errant sheep back to the herd, they can be trained to do everything from fetch a ball to detect cancer.

They use a much larger portion of their brains for analysing smells and associate scent with memories, which is why they can be trained to sniff for bombs and drugs.

They understand our gestures, sense our feelings and respond with the most comforting of emotions. But above all, their unconditional love for us along with a willingness to stick around till their last breath is what makes them truly special. 

Did you know that they have the level of cognition of a three to five-year-old human and can tell we’re trying to show them something when we point at an object. They can evaluate whether one bowl has more food than another and respond to familiar voices, being excellent at determining whether someone is friend or foe!

From watching us do the craziest of things to being there on our most darkest days, our dogs are the silent observers who know us better than everyone else.

From the way they thump their tails, invade our laps and steal our pillows, not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family and they rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.

Do you ever wonder how a dogs’ minds work and what they think about when you wave them goodbye each day?  

They are capable of making associations and reacting to stimuli. But what they think about, and how they interpret the information, is still a mystery.  Just as it’s impossible to read another person’s thoughts, it is impossible to speculate exactly what a dog is thinking,”

Dogs are the oldest domesticated species. They’ve been interacting with people for millennia, and as a result, have learned how to understand and communicate with us better than any other species. Their strong sense of observation allows them to pick up hints in our body language, smells and the tones of our voices.

From the very beginning, they worked alongside us, hunting and tracking and even keeping us safe at night by growling and barking when danger reared its ugly head.

In modern day, this relationship has been forgotten, and often the poor pooch is now left to sit at home while we go about our daily business. 

Some large companies, such as Google, embrace the idea, but in the main it is only small firms and animal-related businesses that permit it. 

Which are the top dog-friendly companies in the UK?

Blue Cross
As you might expect from an animal charity, Blue Cross employees can bring their dogs to its offices as long as they have their manager’s permission and their dogs are good.
Blue Cross says pets are very calming and they can provide light relief for employees when the work load gets hectic. Another benefit is that they force people to take regular breaks from their desk and provide exercise – keeping people fit and healthy.

Pets at Home
An another obvious pet-friendly workplace is the chain Pets at Home. More than 90 percent of its employees have pets and in its support office, dogs at work are a regular feature. Pets at Home is currently investigating “pet-ternity” leave, where employees can take time off to settle a new pet into their homes.

Next Model Management
Some of the management team members have dogs and they are allowed to bring them into the office – so long as they are properly cared for, and they don’t disrupt the work. The models who drop in often have their dogs with them.

Apparently, Build-a-Bear has a chief executive dog called “Milford”, who celebrates his birthday each year by hosting a party for the other company dogs. The company has been named as one of 100 best companies to work for . Perhaps that’s why!

Nestlé allows the 1,000-plus employees at its corporate headquarters near to Gatwick Airport to bring their dogs to work should they want to. Dogs need to be “pawthorised”. Owners must fill in a detailed questionnaire about the dog’s habits, and the dog must be evaluated at home and in the office by an independent dog specialist.


At Firebox, the alternative homeware and lifestyle shop, employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work, which their staff members love to take advantage of. The company sees its pet-friendly policies are a definite advantage. The dogs have a positive impact on the office, as they offer stress-relieving qualities, and they provide plenty of entertainment value.

Firebox also allows the dogs to sit in on meetings, where they give paws for thought when important decisions need to be made. 

Firebox sees the upside for the dogs is that they enjoy the attention and get to be part of a group/pack atmosphere. The company plans to encourage other staff members to bring their dogs in, and they might consider other animals.


As you might imagine, a company called  is a dog-friendly place to work for. The business is headquartered in Shoreditch, and office dogs pop in regularly to say hello or take part in photo shoots.

The Dogs Trust

The same applies to the charity, The Dogs Trust, where you are allowed to take your dog to work.

Happier and healthier staff (34%)
Dogs get to spend more time with their owners (30%)
Increased socialisation (28%)
Encourage more physical activity (26%)
Employees less likely to suffer from depression (20%)
Dogs get to socialise with other dogs (18%)
Reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels (17%)
Increased engagement and motivation (14%)
Helps break the ice when talking to senior staff (10%)
Helps break the ice when talking to an office crush (9%)

Working hours (58%)
Empty home for most of the day – the pet would be alone (51%)
It is too expensive to own a dog (28%)
Landlord does not allow pets (13%)
Social life does not allow for owning a dog e.g. local bars and restaurants (9%)

Environment & Agriculture (50%)
Hospitality & Events Management (36%)
Creative Arts & Design (34%)
Information Research & Analysis (33%)
Business, Consulting & Management (31%)


Before you take your dog to work, it’s important to get the approval of everyone there. Bear in mind that some people suffer from allergies or may be afraid of dogs.

Make sure your animal is well-versed in “’petiquette”’. If your dog is well behaved, it is more likely to be welcomed back.

Practise these five essentials before you bring your dog to work:

  • Teach your dog to come when called
  • Make sure your dog will sit and stay on command
  • Train your dog to walk sensibly on a loose lead
  • Ensure your dog will lie down when asked
  • Train your dog to leave something – be it a pen or someone’s sandwich. 

And some tips for once you’re in the office:

  • Let your dog explore
  • Introduce them to your colleagues
  • Let your colleagues know if you leave the office, so that they are prepared if there is an emergency
  • If you plan to put your dog in a pen, set it up beforehand
  • Provide a comfortable place for your dog. Bring a bed, a water bowl and a few favourite toys.

This annual nationwide event raises money for the charities that are dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs.

Why not check with your employer to see if they’d like to take part in 2021, if not just make a small dalmatian to this worthy cause.